Adding Acid


In my continuing quest to kill this batch of wine, I have messed up the acid balance.
Here is the story: I have a 5 gallon batch of Cabernet Sauvignon (from concentrate) that has finished primary. Prior to inoculating, I measured the reconstituted juice and found that the titrateable acid was very low, about .3%. I wanted to raise the acidity to between .6% and .7%. In order to do this, I used the following formula:
4.1g Tartaric Acid/1 gallon = .1% rise
So in order to raise 5 gallons of wine to .65% (a .35% rise) I calculated the following:
5(4.1g)/5(1) gallon=.1% rise 3.5(20.5g/5gal)=3.5(.1%) rise 71.75g/5gal=.35% rise
I added this acid to the juice and re-measured the TA. It was up to . 4% After a 20 min wait, I re-measured and it was still .4% I added another 20g.
After a 20 min wait, I re-measured and it was still .45% I added another 20g.
After a 20 min wait, I re-measured and it was still .45% I then added 40g.
After a 20 min wait, I re-measured and it was still .7% good
Now, almost 2 months later, I re-measured and the TA is .82 Crap The taste is very tart. Go figure.
So, what is the best way to add acid? Should I have waited longer before adding more? Does it take a while for the acid to fully dissolve?
Where did I go wrong?
Reply to
Wayne Harris

Hi Wayne, I am no expert, but I am pretty sure that the initial addition of acid (72g) was correct to raise the acidity to 0.7% After adding it I would have stirred very well without splashing and been happy with that. If I was to wanted to double check, I would have waited 12 hours or so after stirring and then given it another lesser stir before measuring. In my experience the apparent acid after a decent stirring is always lesser immediately than it is after a few hours or even a day.
I guess it was a mistake to fear that the acid 'hadnt worked' and add more, especially so soon.
For future reference (just as an idea) the webpage at
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is an excellent tool for quickly calculating/double checking additions of acid and sugar (as well as other useful tools). I don't carry the maths in my head (I should remember the square at least) and use this tool often to work out my wine details.
I also suspect - though I court corroboration for this or denial - that it is a good idea to aim for a middling acid level (for the given type of wine) the first time you make it. Maybe adjust up and down from there after tasting the finished wine. Maybe just using the information for the next batch. That is my approach now in making country wines. Until recently I aimed for almost the maximum acids for my wines as well as the maximum suggested tannin levels. I am starting to see that not every wine suits the acid levels I've used. Though I have yet to regret my tannic addition...
I don't know if the wine heads here have any better suggestions, but all I can think is that ideally you would buy a 6 gallon secondary and add another gallon of juice to the must (adjusting sugar levels if required). Then gently adjusting the acid if required to a more forgiving level. Some say its not a good idea to add acid during fermentation, I haven't tried it myself, but I doubt it can do much harm if it is done gently...
You could if necessary try chemical acid reduction. I did this for a rhubarb wine and it worked very well. It does require that you add winemakers chalk (calcium carbonate?) to reduce the acid by a given amount.
Anyway, I digress, I guess you asked about where you went wrong rather than potential fixes, but I've had some of my plum wine and I figure it can't hurt...
Good luck, Jim
Reply to
jim c

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an
Wow. First off, kit wines are pre-balanced so the need to make a drastic change like that is questionable. Use your taste buds as a tie breaker, always. They are the best instrument you own.
Next, never add that much acid. I think you acid test kit is bad, the NAOH may be off. You are literally measuring tartaric acid per given quantity, it sounds like you added way too much.
That said, get the wine as cold as possible 28F is ideal. That will pull excess tartaric out
Please don't take this wrong, I'm not being critical. All I'm saying is the real art in winemaking is knowing when to say no, you seem to have gotten too into getting the numbers right to stop and do a reality check on them.
Don't give up, chill it.
Joe
Reply to
Joe Sallustio

I'm at a stage in my winemaking art that I want and NEED critical feedback. It is very very much appreciated.
BTW, i started this batch with a couple of cans of concentrate, not a kit. To me, a kit is the juice/concentrate, chemicals, instructions etc.. I just started with a couple of cans of concentrate.
OR, are cans of concentrate referred to as Kit wines too?
What I am going to to is to induce MLF. then test it again with paper chromatography, and a TA test. Then cold stabilize.
If that does not work, i will add a base like Calcium Carbonate.
Reply to
Wayne Harris

Couple of things: First, your calculations would be way easier if you switched to metric - 5 US gallons is 19L and using g/L instead of .x %, you have 3g/L and want to go to 7g/L, so just multiply 19 by 4 to get the total amount. Also, not sure where the 4.1 factor came from? TA is measured as tartaric acid, so what you add is what you get, i.e, you should need 3.8 g tartaric for 1g/L (0.1%) increase in 1gal.
Second, you can't measure acid correctly on must from concentrate - they warn about this in kit making so the same things should apply to straight concentrate, probably even more. The concentration process binds some acids with other components in the must, and the bond only gets release during fermenation. So that's a big part of your problem.
Pp
Reply to
pp

I got the 4.1 factor from Jack Keller
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"Most blends, however, are 40-40-20, and adding 3.9 grams of this ratio blend will increase the acidity in a gallon of must approximately 0.1%. This same increase can be achieved by adding to a gallon of must 4.1 grams of tartaric acid or 3.7 grams of either malic acid or citric acid."
Reply to
Wayne Harris

Agreed on both and Wayne, I did the same thing on my first wine from cans; I just didn't add as much... :) Experience is a bitter teacher...
Joe
Reply to
Joe Sallustio

Did you use acid blend or straight tartaric? If tartaric, chilling will get rid of the excess.
If acid blend, I'm not sure MLF will help and I personally wouldn't spend the money ofn a good culture for canned concentrate. It can have an off taste depending on how it was made and how long it sat on the shelf. More important, the malic acid in acid blend may not be affected by MLF.
Yes, canned concentrate is still kit winemaking.
Tell us what was used and we can go from there, another method of acid reduction that may help is the double salt method.
Joe
Reply to
Joe Sallustio

I used straight tartaric acid.
Sunday. (3/16/08) I added the MLF culture to the wine. I will check it with paper chromatography in week or so. Should i see it doing anything? I see absolutly nothing going on.
Plan B: I will chill it.
Plan C: I will add a Calcium Carbonate.
Reply to
Wayne Harris

Keep in mind that when using grape concentrate, the TA will rise during the fermentation. Normally, the rise will be about 1 - 2 grams per litre so you should account for that in your tests. For example, your original test of .3% (3 grams per litre) would probably have ended up at .45 - .5% after fermentation.
Reply to
jma

Thanks, i did not know this. Interesting. and this effect is limited to juice from concentrate only? I what the difference is between juice from concentrate and fresh juice is that makes this occur.
Reply to
Wayne Harris

Ok, chilling is your best option but you already added the ML culture. It won't do anything at very cold temperatures, MLF is better at room temperature. It's common to see tiny little fast rising bubbles with MLF. Is the sulfite level low? it needs to be under 30 or maybe even 20 PPM free to work; that and your pH is probably too low for MLF if it's 3.0 or less you may have issues with MLF.
I would suggest you try chilling if any of the preceeding exist.
Joe
Reply to
Joe Sallustio

I don't have a pH meter, but i have intentially kept my sulfite level low in case i wanted to try MLF. (I kinda did anyway). Its currenlty at 16PPM I would imagine if my TA is at .82% that my pH is low. (Bad assumption?) Thats just a guess though.
Taking wine to garage.
Reply to
Wayne Harris

No, you are probably right. You added tartaric which swings pH the most so it is probably at least 3.2 or lower. If you get it to around 0.6% I think you will be happy with it.
Joe
Reply to
Joe Sallustio

(Oct 2003)
«Throughout the fermentation of a grape-based wine, there is both an increase in the Total Titratable Acidity resulting from fermentation, and a decrease (precipitation) of some of the grape's natural fruit acid (Tartaric).
The acids resulting from fermentation & the winemaking process account for an increase in TA of approximately 2.0 - 2.5 g/l. This increase is mostly the result of the formation of Succinic acid [0.5-1.25 g/l]. Succinic acid is the "acid of ethanol" & it is responsible for the common sour taste shared by all alcoholic beverages. However, other acids are formed as well during the fermentation, including: Lactic [~0.3 g/l ], Phosphoric, Carbonic (from the formation of CO2), Sulfurous (due to the pre-fermentation addition of SO2) & Acetic.
However, with a grape wine, this increase in "fermentation related" acids is almost perfectly offset by an equal reduction in Tartaric acid due to the precipitation of potassium bitartrate during & after fermentation.
Note that this same increase in the TA during fermentation also occurs with wines made from concentrate, as the process of concentration removes almost all of the potassium bitartrate from the must prior to fermentation».
Reply to
frederick ploegman

On Mar 19, 10:00 pm, "frederick ploegman" wrote:
Sorry to beat this thread to death, but I need to ask another question that is related.
I just started another batch from concentrate. A 5 gallon batch from concentrate. I used Cabernet concentrate from WilliamsBrewing.com What i found interesting is that on WilliamsBrewing's web site, it claims to not need any acid as it is already acid balanced. However, when i reconstitued the wine, I measured .25% TA.
I added 60g of Tartaric Acid to bring up to .6% TA.
Why would the maker of the concentrate say that .25% is "balanced" ?
Reply to
Wayne Harris

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