Substituting Lemon Juice for Abscorbic Acid

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Arctic Contributor
Oct 26, 2008
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I was looking at a recipe that called for 1 tsp of Abscorbic Acid. Would the juice of 1 lemon be a decent equivelant?
f you have Vitamin C tablets, you can crush them up and dissolve them in water... I know of some winemakers who do this. While lemon juice would definitely contain some ascorbic acid, it also contains alot of citric acid and will therefore increase your TA considerably. I suppose you could add the lemon juice BEFORE adding any acid, then test your TA and add enough acid to bring it up to the proper level. Ascorbic acid is added as an antioxidant and so you can omit it provided you add sulfite and try to handle the must as protectively as possible. (ie. ferment at a cooler temp., avoid splashing and aerating, and rack and top up promptly when SG dips down near 1.000)

You may even want to consider avoiding ascorbic acid in all your wines... there is some new research out of South Africa and Australia that suggests ascorbic acid might act as a pro-oxidant rather than an antioxidant under certain conditions. I might use it in some whites and fruit wines, but by no means should it be used in reds, or other wines with large concentrations of tannin and anthocyanins (pigments.)

Depends on the recipe size too.. I use 1 flat teaspoon of citric acid for whites to replace a lemon if I don't have one. Those are 1 gallon recipes.


Manimal is right about oxidation. I would not use ascorbic acid in wine as it tends to help oxidation in the long run. There was an article bout this in the South African Wineboer magazine.

However I do not agree on the statement about lemon juice containing a lot of citric acid. I did some test on replacing citric acid by lemon juice here:

Look at the figures:
1 gram lemon juice contains just 0.075 gram acid.

So it will take a lot of juice to bring up acidity.......

The best way to adjust this recipe is to measure acidity with a test kit and adjust with citric acid.

I have used it once. The apple recipe I used called for some at the 4 week mark to stop oxidation and brown color changes. I see now I should use it sparingly. Is there any other fruits that need ascorbic acid? :?Steve
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