Pineapple/Banana Wine Frustration

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I started this batch in Nov 2015. I used canned pineapple juice and about 10 lbs of bananas. Before I pitched the yeast it tasted and smelled heavenly. I was really looking forward to the finished wine which has become a complete disaster. The wine has a harsh acidic taste. This is only my second batch of pineapple and neither has turned out well. Seeking advice from the "pineapple pros"!

Initial SG 1.090 finished SG .995. Added Sorbate and used sugar to sweeten to 1.040. I thought it would taste better if it were sweet - NOPE. I did not measure initial Ph but final was 3.0. Raised Ph to 3.5. Still has harsh acidic taste. Played with Ph level and raised to 4.0. Wine became flat and flavorless so I dropped it back to 3.5.

I've racked it 4 times and it is very clear, but tastes terrible. I figured after letting it mellow in the carboy for 19 months it would have gotten better - NOPE. Still gross. I'd like to salvage the 5 gallons I have if possible. Suggestions?
 

Stressbaby

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Those are some enormous swings in pH. What acid did you use to bring it up? What did you use to drop it back down?
Is it oxidized? A pic would help.
Is it buttery or vinegary? Lots of citric in pineapple, and if so some ML bacteria could have gotten ahold of it if the sulfite levels allowed.

I've never backsweetened a wine to 1.040 but that certainly seems as if it should have been more than enough sugar to balance whatever levels of acidity you have. Noblesse is said to clean up a variety of issues with wines, and I have used it with some success. Whatever you do, I'd try that before dumping it out.
 

BernardSmith

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Not sure if measuring the pH will provide you very much guidance. That metric is important for the yeast but really plays very little importance with regard to taste. Taste turns on what is called titratable acidity (TA) which is typically calculated in terms of the amount of tartaric acid in a wine.

If you have been measuring pH can I assume you have a pH meter? If so, if you can get hold of some sodium hydroxide from your LHBS, and carefully add just enough to turn a sample of the wine to a pH of 8.2 you can calculate the TA.
http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=30970
Here's a "calculator" that allows you to determine the TA of different acids (Stressbaby, above, offers that pineapple is essentially citric and not tartaric acid) http://fruitandnuteducation.ucdavis.edu/files/162035.pdf
Bottom line - you want the TA of your wine to be around 0.7 (TA is a measure of the AMOUNT of acid in your wine. pH is a measure of the STRENGTH of the acids. You can have a great deal of a very strong acid - or very little of that acid - the pH will be the same.. but the TA will be quite different). Drier wines might get by with a lower TA (about .6) and very sweet wines might need a higher TA
 
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Stressbaby

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Not sure if measuring the pH will provide you very much guidance. That metric is important for the yeast but really plays very little importance with regard to taste. Taste turns on what is called titratable acidity (TA) which is typically calculated in terms of the amount of tartaric acid in a wine.

If you have been measuring pH can I assume you have a pH meter? If so, if you can get hold of some sodium hydroxide from your LHBS, and carefully add just enough to turn a sample of the wine to a pH of 8.2 you can calculate the TA.
http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=30970
Here's a "calculator" that allows you to determine the TA of different acids (Stressbaby, above, offers that pineapple is essentially citric and not tartaric acid) http://fruitandnuteducation.ucdavis.edu/files/162035.pdf
Bottom line - you want the TA of your wine to be around 0.7 (TA is a measure of the AMOUNT of acid in your wine. pH is a measure of the STRENGTH of the acids. You can have a great deal of a very strong acid - or very little of that acid - the pH will be the same.. but the TA will be quite different). Drier wines might get by with a lower TA (about .6) and very sweet wines might need a higher TA
So true. As an example, just last night my wife and I did some bench trials of KHCO3 additions to some wines that were too sharp. The blueberry wine started at 3.14 and we settled on 1.5g/L which drove the pH to 3.51. The pinot grigio started at 2.54(!) and we settled on 1g/L which landed us at 2.99.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but TA measures all of the acids as tartaric. It might be helpful to know what that number is on this wine.
 

BernardSmith

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Yeah.. I am definitely not an expert on TA - I tend to use my sense of taste and don't use instruments to formally measure and address the TA - after all, I am making wines and meads to please only my wife and me.. and am not trying to ensure some "consistency" between batches or carboys.
Claude Jolicoeur - a really good cider maker - provides the conversion for tartaric (the typical way that TA kits are calibrated since the assumption is that grapes are the dominant fruit in all wine making ) to malic (malic being the dominant acid found in apples) in this paper: http://cjoliprsf.ca/Documents/Acidity-pH.pdf where Jolicoeur states that " {t}o convert the total acidity number from tartaric acid equivalent to malic acid we need to multiply the grams per litre of tartaric acid by 0.89" And I believe that conversion factors for citric acid require that you multiply the g/L by 0.85 while for lactic you multiply the g/L by 1.20
 
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I would describe the taste as more akin to a white grapefruit. Very sour, leaving a 4-5 second aftertaste. I used both potassium bicarbonate and an acid blend (citric/malic/tartaric) to adjust pH.

I do have a pH meter and will obtain some sodium hydroxide tomorrow. I apologize for my post not being synched with the above replies. I'm still learning this forum. I truly appreciate your help.
 
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