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Watermelon strawberry ph TA help

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Brigitte

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I could use some advice. We had a pickup truck load of watermelons given to us a while back. Good quality melons. Seeded. We scooped the flesh and seeds out and froze in zip lock bags until the weather was cooler and we had time to mess with them. We had 70 one-gallon freezer bags. Pressed with a bladder press and have around 34-40 gallons of juice. To this we added 40 pounds of sliced frozen strawberries (Sam’s). The pulp of the melon left over in the press was bagged in mesh bags and is floating in the tank— 2 bags about 1 gallon each. K- meta added at 1/4 tsp per five gallons. This was all done yesterday. The juice is cold bc the melon had been frozen. Temp is 60 at present. Ok so today I’m running some numbers to get ready to adjust the juice before adding yeast.
So here is what I have:

SG. 1.040
Brix 9.7
pH 4.94. Ugh
TA 1.7 g/l. (0.17%). Double ugh.

The SG/Brix of course can be fixed easy enough. We aren’t interested in pushing the ABV high and I know the juice wouldn’t do well with that. I’m thinking 9-10% ABV. Doable.
But that pH and TA?!!!???
I have not run any calculations on acid addition. Has anyone ever dealt with a pH so high and TA so low and ended with a desirable wine? I have acid blend and tartaric acid both. I have tannin.

What would you do?

Thanks !!
Brigitte
 

Scooter68

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Well it seems that nobody has waded in to try and help. I have never attempted a watermelon wine but In looking at one site they have recipe for it that includes 2.5 tsp of Acid Blend. Normally most recipes I see list a qty of 1 tsp per gallon. Based on that alone, I would think just using standard Acid Blend would be the route to take. You may need a lot of it but...

Here's that recipe:" https://northeastwinemaking.com/pages/watermelon-wine

Here's a link to a thread on this site that talks about that same issue - low acid content and it looks like he just start hitting it with Acid Blend. Apparently he too found it rather challenging. There is some good advice there from some folks with experience in the process.

https://www.winemakingtalk.com/threads/first-watermelon-wine.45872/
 

Brigitte

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Well it seems that nobody has waded in to try and help. I have never attempted a watermelon wine but In looking at one site they have recipe for it that includes 2.5 tsp of Acid Blend. Normally most recipes I see list a qty of 1 tsp per gallon. Based on that alone, I would think just using standard Acid Blend would be the route to take. You may need a lot of it but...

Here's that recipe:" https://northeastwinemaking.com/pages/watermelon-wine

Here's a link to a thread on this site that talks about that same issue - low acid content and it looks like he just start hitting it with Acid Blend. Apparently he too found it rather challenging. There is some good advice there from some folks with experience in the process.

https://www.winemakingtalk.com/threads/first-watermelon-wine.45872/
Thanks for taking time to answer! Yea I have read it’s challenging. I have doses it twice with acid blend. First time added half what I had calculated to add then rechecked my numbers. PH down to 3.9 and TA up to 3.3. Dosed it again last night and will recheck numbers here in a bit.
The juice tastes pretty good so I will keep moving forward.
Cheers !!
 

Scooter68

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Good luck with that. I tried a strawberry wine based on the comments "Strawberry is one of the easiest to make..." WRONG - Not for me at least ended up with two batches going bad. So I hope your Watermelon wine is winner for you.
 

Brigitte

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Good luck with that. I tried a strawberry wine based on the comments "Strawberry is one of the easiest to make..." WRONG - Not for me at least ended up with two batches going bad. So I hope your Watermelon wine is winner for you.
Oh dang. Sorry about your strawberry wine! I have lost one batch so far. But it was my fault. Rookie mistakes but losing any wine is heartbreaking ..

I re-tested my watermelon a bit ago and pH 3.6 TA 6.2. I’m undecided at present if I add more acid at this point But leaning towards adding a little more acid. Not overly comfortable with that pH and shelf life the wine will have. ABV is going to be about 10%. So it’s a light wine.
I’m lucky in that I have a room that’s essentially a basement room bc our house is built into the hill and only open to the outside world on the front. I crank the AC down and open the vents in that room and can keep the temp about 60.

I am keeping my fingers crossed on this one. I didn’t have enough yeast. So I am doing a starter with Rhône 4600 and a lalvin K1 V1116. I have never combined yeast before. So I’m nervous about this.

Do you have any knowledge of combining yeast strains?
 

Cxwgfamily

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I did not chime in in initially because I have about 9 gallons of watermelon juice in the freezer waiting to make my first batch in about a week or two. Need to clear out the blueberry batches first. I wanted to see what other, more experienced watermelon wine makers said first. But low TA and high pH, I would have thought you add Acid Blend exactly as you are doing. The recipe I have calls for the same amount of acid blend as you are using. Good luck!!!

I really got motivated to make watermelon wine when I saw on Jack Keller's web site that a lady who does not live to far from me wrote,"when I really want to feel elegant, I pour meyself a glass of my grandfathers watermelon wine." Is that no a wonderful endorsement of watermelon wine.

Cxwgfamily
 

Scooter68

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My experience isn' that deep but don't most ferments lower the pH at least during the ferment. From what I've learned 3.6 is 'in the range' upper end but in there. Personally I'd try to drop it a bit more but I wouldn't waste a lot of time doing so. Everything I've read on watermelon wine says get it fermenting asap to avoid spoilage.
 

Brigitte

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I did not chime in in initially because I have about 9 gallons of watermelon juice in the freezer waiting to make my first batch in about a week or two. Need to clear out the blueberry batches first. I wanted to see what other, more experienced watermelon wine makers said first. But low TA and high pH, I would have thought you add Acid Blend exactly as you are doing. The recipe I have calls for the same amount of acid blend as you are using. Good luck!!!

I really got motivated to make watermelon wine when I saw on Jack Keller's web site that a lady who does not live to far from me wrote,"when I really want to feel elegant, I pour meyself a glass of my grandfathers watermelon wine." Is that no a wonderful endorsement of watermelon wine.

Cxwgfamily
It smells absolutely delicious at this point. I have been adding acid at half the dose i calculate. Testing ... then recalculating and adding half that amount again. Zeroing in on that sweet spot.
I love that description you gave from jack Keller’s web site. I am envisioning a wine label with an elegantly dressed southern bell sipping her watermelon wine.
Good luck with your wine!! Keep me posted !
Brigitte
 

Brigitte

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My experience isn' that deep but don't most ferments lower the pH at least during the ferment. From what I've learned 3.6 is 'in the range' upper end but in there. Personally I'd try to drop it a bit more but I wouldn't waste a lot of time doing so. Everything I've read on watermelon wine says get it fermenting asap to avoid spoilage.
I agree with everything you said. It’s exactly where my thinking is on this project.
Going to dose it again in about an hour. Retest in the morning and toss in yeast tomorrow. It’s at about 60 degrees and no spoilage yet.

Any advice on my yeast choice? The combined strains of Rhône 4600 and KI V1116?
 

Cxwgfamily

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I agree. Thanks for the idea for the label. I had intended to put that quote on the label somewhere but I think I will add the southern belle as well.
good luck with your wine as well.

And THANKS for starting the thread!!!!!
 

Brigitte

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I agree. Thanks for the idea for the label. I had intended to put that quote on the label somewhere but I think I will add the southern belle as well.
good luck with your wine as well.

And THANKS for starting the thread!!!!!
You are welcome. Thanks for chiming in!!
 

Stressbaby

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@Brigette I haven't made watermelon but it is notorious for spoiling even right in the middle of the ferment.
Keller makes a big deal about having a good yeast starter for watermelon. If I were you I'd get moving on that ferment - hopefully it is not too late.
 

Brigitte

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@Brigette I haven't made watermelon but it is notorious for spoiling even right in the middle of the ferment.
Keller makes a big deal about having a good yeast starter for watermelon. If I were you I'd get moving on that ferment - hopefully it is not too late.
Thanks for responding to my post ! It’s fermenting this morning. I did do a yeast starter and let it go 24 hours and the. tossed it all in yesterday. No spoilage yet. I keep checking on that. Temp is still 59-60. So far so good.
 

Brigitte

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The watermelon wine is fermenting very well and smells great. I’m at 1.028 and keeping temp in the low 70’s with frozen water bottles. I’ll rack it to secondary tomorrow most likely. It’s a beautiful sight! Thanks for the help !
 

Brigitte

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post some pics after racking. I am looking forward to see your success.
I will try. I tried posting one of the fermentation but it wouldn’t post. I kept getting an error message. ‍♀
 

Brigitte

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IMG_4646.jpg

Here is a picture of a sample I had used to test Specific gravity. We were down to 1.002 and got it transferred to secondary with an airlock. It has a very fruity taste. No sour or spoiled toasted. I believe we have gotten out of the danger zone !
 

Cxwgfamily

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WOW! It looks great. still has that wonderful watermelon color. will be interesting to see if that continues. I saw an earlier post where the watermelon wine lost its color and was simply a white wine. I know my satsuma wine is that way, it loses its wonderful orange color to a simple white wine color.
 

Brigitte

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WOW! It looks great. still has that wonderful watermelon color. will be interesting to see if that continues. I saw an earlier post where the watermelon wine lost its color and was simply a white wine. I know my satsuma wine is that way, it loses its wonderful orange color to a simple white wine color.
I had read that it looses it color. So we added strawberries to it. Mostly for color but it is a nice flavor to round out the watermelon. Just a hint of strawberry.
 

Scooter68

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You can use Dark Sweet Cherries to color wines naturally as well as red meat plums. (For future ref.) I used 20 dark sweet cherries in a 3 gallon batch of wine and the changes was subtle but noticeable. Of course the flavor impact was zero.
 
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