So very acid!

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OrchardRoad

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I made a pineapple orange wine in February and in April a pineapple brown sugar with spices wine. Upon bottling both were very tasty (which lead to about half the 5 gallons of pineapple orange not making it to the bottle) but now both are incredibly acid; nearly undrinkable. Keep in mind that this is citric acid, not malic, not tartaric acid causing the problem so some of the traditional wine acid reducing measures won't work since they are meant for malic acid. Anyone know how to lower citric acid? The only other way to "save" these wines (and I have over 10 gallons) is to add quite a lot of sugar as bottles are opened and consumed. Any feedback would be very helpful!
 

Rice_Guy

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* increasing acid would say that you have fermentation going on, this goes along with foam when a bottle is opened and occasionally an explosion. I hope you don’t have ongoing fermentation. You are nine month and five month on the batches so I would expect live yeast. Did you stop them with potassium sorbate?
* acid reduction is possible with a base. The two that are available in my local wine toys store are calcium carbonate (limestone powder) and potassium bicarbonate. Calcium carbonate works slowly and tends to settle, potassium bicarb is fast and at high levels can give bitter potassium flavors.
Do you know what the pH is? titratable acidity? We backsweeten high TA wines to get the sweet and acid flavors balanced. YES you would not be the first to open 750ml bottles to fix a wine.
* oxidation of ethyl alcohol (acetaldehyde) can produce a burn in the back if the throat. Metabolism of ethanol by Acetobacter can generate vinegar, salad dressing smell) along with an increase in TA and a drop in pH. Citric acid can react producing bitter notes. Again as a diagnostic do you have pH and TA?
* sugar is magic and fixes or balances acidity. From a food point of view acid is good, it just needs to be balanced with sweet.
 

Rice_Guy

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From the info on the OP, my first guess is that there is a refermentation going on, if it tasted good at bottle time and is stable the flavor should be similar/ AKA tasty. Something feels like it is missing in the described problem.
@Rice_Guy What would be your procedure to reduce acid? If you know the pH, do you need to titrats the TA?
I do reduce acid because the style I usually make is zero water and the TA is over 1%. I know what the TA is and have time so my choices is 1) add water 2) add a carbonate (calcium) or 3) lower acid with Malurvin B or 71B or MLF. I also run bench trials with sweetener to find where this wine is balanced, ,,,, sugar is magic and hides high acidity and low levels of chemical oxidation.
But this is a finished wine, the fast way to lower acid is with potassium bicarbonate. We know that the molecular weight of tartaric is 150.09/ two protons and potassium bicarbonate is 100.1/ one hydroxyl so adding 1.3 grams will remove 1.0 gram of acid as tartaric acid. ,,, (so,,, How many grams do we want to pull out?) (and ,, The system is dirty with buffering and residual CO2 so never is exact.) (and,,, Flavors are not exact anyway)
A bench trial is required after making a few guesses!
Me personally, we are not dealing with a 10,000 gallon tank, @winemaker81 really has the best answer.
 

Steve Wargo

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How long ago did you ferment the wine? How long ago did you bottle the wine? I've made wine using fresh pineapple chunks, apple juice, and orange juice. Just like you stated. Good at first. Then It eventually became very sour. 18 months later and two cold crashes, and it mellowed. Almost two years later it's a favorite. The difference is that I kept the result in a 5-gallon carboy until it settled down. Mostly cause I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. Now I know what to expect and I will make it again. If you are going to drink it now, mix it as suggested by winemaker81. Is it bubbly, like champagne?
 

OrchardRoad

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* increasing acid would say that you have fermentation going on, this goes along with foam when a bottle is opened and occasionally an explosion. I hope you don’t have ongoing fermentation. You are nine month and five month on the batches so I would expect live yeast. Did you stop them with potassium sorbate?
* acid reduction is possible with a base. The two that are available in my local wine toys store are calcium carbonate (limestone powder) and potassium bicarbonate. Calcium carbonate works slowly and tends to settle, potassium bicarb is fast and at high levels can give bitter potassium flavors.
Do you know what the pH is? titratable acidity? We backsweeten high TA wines to get the sweet and acid flavors balanced. YES you would not be the first to open 750ml bottles to fix a wine.
* oxidation of ethyl alcohol (acetaldehyde) can produce a burn in the back if the throat. Metabolism of ethanol by Acetobacter can generate vinegar, salad dressing smell) along with an increase in TA and a drop in pH. Citric acid can react producing bitter notes. Again as a diagnostic do you have pH and TA?
* sugar is magic and fixes or balances acidity. From a food point of view acid is good, it just needs to be balanced with sweet.

Thank you for your thoughtful response! I need to take the Ph but the problem is evident. I am 2 weeks into a test with calcium carbonate to raise the Ph but in looking at models of the citric acid molecule vs tartaric and malic, it has twice as many branches with hydrogen (I live with PhD biologist and a materials scientist so O Chem is a frequent topic) so maybe would need to use twice as much but I'm testing prescribed amounts first. Despite all the science available at my fingertips, I also acribe to the "Does it taste good and make you want more" school of flavor. It is not fermenting/have not gotten any fizz or pressure in opening my swingtops. I do use potassium sorbate. I don't have a vinegary smell and the burn seems straight up citric acid (like eating a lemon and slightly bitter rind). Yeah, brown sugar or the brown sugar style monkfruit sweetener are my picks for making it taste good again at this time but I'm curious to see what the calcium carbonate experiment might yield. I'd prefer to not sugar up the whole lot.
 

OrchardRoad

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From the info on the OP, my first guess is that there is a refermentation going on, if it tasted good at bottle time and is stable the flavor should be similar/ AKA tasty. Something feels like it is missing in the described problem.

I do reduce acid because the style I usually make is zero water and the TA is over 1%. I know what the TA is and have time so my choices is 1) add water 2) add a carbonate (calcium) or 3) lower acid with Malurvin B or 71B or MLF. I also run bench trials with sweetener to find where this wine is balanced, ,,,, sugar is magic and hides high acidity and low levels of chemical oxidation.
But this is a finished wine, the fast way to lower acid is with potassium bicarbonate. We know that the molecular weight of tartaric is 150.09/ two protons and potassium bicarbonate is 100.1/ one hydroxyl so adding 1.3 grams will remove 1.0 gram of acid as tartaric acid. ,,, (so,,, How many grams do we want to pull out?) (and ,, The system is dirty with buffering and residual CO2 so never is exact.) (and,,, Flavors are not exact anyway)
A bench trial is required after making a few guesses!
Me personally, we are not dealing with a 10,000 gallon tank, @winemaker81 really has the best answer.
Thank you, I'll get some potassium bicarbonate and experiment with that along with the calcium carbonate already in progress. Note again, that this is a citric acid problem, not tartaric. In fact, tartaric is the lowest amount of acid of the three in pineapple. Brown sugar may just be the answer!
 

OrchardRoad

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Since the wines are bottled, another option is to make drinks with it, e.g., add a neutral tasting fruit juice (apple?), which will dilute the wine and add sweetness.
Great thought! Maybe I could add some apple or white grape juice. The stuff is over 16% ABV anyway so adding liquid could allow for second servings instead of being stone cold drunk from one cup.
 
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I'll get some potassium bicarbonate and experiment with that along with the calcium carbonate already in progress.
Go light on all additions. It's very possible to get on the "acid correction" yo-yo.

Great thought! Maybe I could add some apple or white grape juice. The stuff is over 16% ABV anyway so adding liquid could allow for second servings instead of being stone cold drunk from one cup.
1 oz of juice in 6 oz of wine reduces the ABV to about 13.7%, while 2 oz reduces it to 12%. While that may not be enough to reduce the acid, it gives you an idea of how much the ABV is reduced.
 
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OrchardRoad

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How long ago did you ferment the wine? How long ago did you bottle the wine? I've made wine using fresh pineapple chunks, apple juice, and orange juice. Just like you stated. Good at first. Then It eventually became very sour. 18 months later and two cold crashes, and it mellowed. Almost two years later it's a favorite. The difference is that I kept the result in a 5-gallon carboy until it settled down. Mostly cause I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. Now I know what to expect and I will make it again. If you are going to drink it now, mix it as suggested by winemaker81. Is it bubbly, like champagne?
Hi Steve, I fermented in January and bottled in February. The pineapple/brown sugar wine was fermented in February/March and bottled in April. I've been hoping, after opening a bottle a few months ago, that the acid would mellow with time but that hasn't happened yet (maybe 10 more months?) I could decant it all back into carboys and cold crash in my wine fridge, re-rack and bulk age for a bit but I'm concerned about additional oxygen. It isn't bubbly; perfectly still.
 

Steve Wargo

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Hi Steve, I fermented in January and bottled in February. The pineapple/brown sugar wine was fermented in February/March and bottled in April. I've been hoping, after opening a bottle a few months ago, that the acid would mellow with time but that hasn't happened yet (maybe 10 more months?) I could decant it all back into carboys and cold crash in my wine fridge, re-rack and bulk age for a bit but I'm concerned about additional oxygen. It isn't bubbly; perfectly still.
Well, good luck with your wine. You stated previously that the ABV was over 16%. The acid in your wine along with the high ABV acts as a preservative. The wine I made with pineapple wasn't ready to drink after 10 months, more like 18 months. When this recipe is made again and I will make it again, it will be with a reduced amount of pineapple. Then maybe, it's drinkable at an earlier time. Let the wine rest for another 6 months or so. What's the worse that can happen? Maybe, You relabel it as a marinade? JK. Give it time
 

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Yes citric is trivalent, but in the scheme of things your tongue only cares how many hydro ius in solution, ,,, NOT if they come from lactic or tartaric or phosphoric (soda) or citric.
my impression is that in dandelion wine (everything from the chemical bottle) citric gives more bitter flavor notes so I shy away from it.
Thank you, I'll get some potassium bicarbonate and experiment with that along with the calcium carbonate already in progress. Note again, that this is a citric acid problem, not tartaric. In fact, tartaric is the lowest amount of acid of the three in pineapple. Brown sugar may just be the answer!
One can make high Titratable acidity wine/ or juice beverage. They simply take more sugar for balance.
 

OrchardRoad

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Yes citric is trivalent, but in the scheme of things your tongue only cares how many hydro ius in solution, ,,, NOT if they come from lactic or tartaric or phosphoric (soda) or citric.
my impression is that in dandelion wine (everything from the chemical bottle) citric gives more bitter flavor notes so I shy away from it.

One can make high Titratable acidity wine/ or juice beverage. They simply take more sugar for balance.
Thanks so much for your insights! I'll see how it goes with calcium carbonate but as you suggested, I'm likely to end up just adding more sugar.
 
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Last night I opened a bottle of McGregor Vignoles. Typically it's off dry, so I purchased several bottles.

I checked the label -- it states it's a sweet wine. Oh, no! The label doesn't state the residual sugar, but if they say it's sweet, it's sweet. [While I like dessert wines, for table wines I like dry to off-dry.]

Ok ... I tentatively take a sip. Hmmmm .... doesn't taste sweet.

Take another sip, swirl it around in my mouth, suck in a bit of air. Ok, definitely sugar. And an acid bite. Different parts of my mouth indicate high sugar and high acid.

The wine is well blended so the sugar moderates a high acid wine. It's delicious.

A high acid wine is not a problem -- it's a challenge!
 
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