Techniques for adjusting acidity?

Discussion in 'Yeast, Additives & Wine Making Science' started by Toonster, Jun 14, 2018.

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  1. Toonster

    Toonster Member

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    I've been gifted a whole load of lemons, and, of course, my first thought was wine (my husband's thought was "where are we going to put it, you've got two other carboys going at the moment and a full wine rack already...")

    I've had a look through the forums for recipes , and I've seen a lot of comments about checking PH. However, I'm struggling to find anything which then says how to adjust if the PH is too low. (Probably using the wrong search terms - apologies if I've missed something obvious!)

    Are there specific techniques? Do I just dilute?

    If there is a specific chemical / product to add, please bear in mind that I'm in New Zealand, so the range of products I have access to and their commonly used names are often different to the US.
     
  2. Johnd

    Johnd Large Member Supporting Member

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    With lemons, odds are, there will be a lot of acid, so the acid will be high, which translates into a LOW pH, seemingly backwards, but that's what it is. At any rate, your challege will be to reduce the acid (raise the pH) to a point where the yeast will be able to do its job. I do not have a dilution rate to share with you for lemons, as I've never done a wine using only lemons, but many fruit wines seem to use somewhere between 5 and 10 pounds per gallons. Once prepared, and you've checked the SG on your must and added sugar to get to your desired starting gravity, check the pH. If it's under 3.0, you should consider adding some potassium bicarbonate to reduce the acidity (raise the pH) at least up into the 3.xxxx's to be safe, 3.2 or so should be sufficient. Go slow with the K - carb so you don't overdo it, just a little at a time, stir, measure, etc.........You'll most likely need to add some nutrients as well. From there, your yeast should do the rest.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
  3. Venatorscribe

    Venatorscribe bucket chemist

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    I use calcium carbonate to lift the pH.
     
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  4. pillswoj

    pillswoj Canadian Member

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    As a suggestion, look to the Skeeter Pee recipe as a starting point
     
  5. Toonster

    Toonster Member

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    Awesome - thanks :) I'll go see what the brew shop has in terms of Calcium or Potassium carbonate. I'll have a play with Skeeter Pee, too, though quite a bit of improv will be needed :)
     
  6. Toonster

    Toonster Member

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    Interesting to report - I've got the calcium carbonate (sadly apparently limited use if not being used in mash as it isn't very soluble, so not sure how much use it will be) - New Zealand shops aren't allowed to sell potassium carbonate due to its volatility!
     
  7. Venatorscribe

    Venatorscribe bucket chemist

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    I live in NZ. I have found most home brew retailers have CaCO3. Its not expensive. The only volatility related to this chemical is a bit of active foaming as it releases CO2. Harmless. And if you stir it in and keep stirring slowly there will be minimal foam as CO2 is released effortlessly. I presume you own a pH meter, so make gradual additions until you get the pH you are chasing. If there any calcium chelates or compounds formed they will be weak - and they will drop out of solution along with dead yeast cells during fermentation.
     
  8. Toonster

    Toonster Member

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    Thanks :) I've got the CaCO3 (the packet says that it is best added to mash - it's a Mangrove Jacks for beer - only brand he sold, but I'll try with the juice - it's better than nothing!)

    It's the K2CO3 that can't be sold due to volatility...

    Sadly, he didn't have a PH meter, just litmus strips, and I didn't have the time at the weekend to head all the way to Wellington (I'm in Upper Hutt) on the offchance the Wellington shop would do any better *sigh*
     
  9. stickman

    stickman Veteran Winemaker

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    Potassium bicarbonate can often be found at heath food stores, in capsules as well as bulk powder.
     
  10. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    Always curious if adding alka seltzer antacid (k-bi-carb- active ingredient) would be effective? Same goes for tums (calc-carb) if in a bind. Same chemical. Just adding all the other junk also in it.
    I have yet to remove acid from a wine other than cold stabilizing. But I have read quite a bit.
    As far as I can see, calc-carb you just add it— but has a chance to alter the taste more than K-bicarbonate - which requires cold stabilizing.
    But I also read that removing acid before fermentation requires cold stabilizing - which in turn eats up all available YAN. So if done you’d have to be sure to load up heavy on nutrients for fermentation.
    Does this sound accurate?
     
  11. stickman

    stickman Veteran Winemaker

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    I wouldn't use anything that has additives specific to a particular use. The health food versions I'm referring to are pure component USP grade.

    Any operation that would clarify or remove solids prior to fermentation, cold settling included, would reduce the available nutrients in the resulting must or juice. I couldn't say how much of a difference it makes, but white wine makers are particular about the amount of solids they bring over from the settling tank, not too much and not to little.
     
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  12. wildhair

    wildhair Member

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    This doc. may help. Info I've gathered from here and there on acidity and increasing and decreasing ph. I also use calcium carbonate to lower ph (reduce acidity). Best if used to balance the must BEFORE fermentation, but can be used after.
    Start w/ 1/2 t per gallon - stir it into a cup or 2 of the wine until all dissolved, then pour it into the must (or wine). Wait a couple hours, then test again. Repeat, wait, test........ until you get the ph in the range you want.

    Give it a little extra time to clarify, too.
     

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  13. Venatorscribe

    Venatorscribe bucket chemist

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    Hi you can get some very good / cheap pH meters off TradeMe. I replaced my meter recently for under twenty bucks. When you buy - get some extra calibration solutions.
     
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