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Old 02-18-2010, 02:22 PM   #1
Emerald
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Default too much acid in my wine? and question on racking.

I started a apple honey wine in October and it is just starting to clear a bit now and there is an odd problem- it is very sour, but it is a lemon/citric acidy flavor not a vinegar type sour- is there a way to fix a wine that is too acidy? The hydrometer reads about halfway between 1.010 and 1.000
it is hard to tell if it is the alcohol level burning on the way down or the acid- It might make a good marinade if I can't age the acidity out. But 5 gallons! that is a lot of marinade grade wine!

recipe-
Apple/Honey wine
4 gallons USA apple juice
3 cans of apple juice concentrate.
2lbs local wild honey
5 cups white sugar
1 cup tea brewed with 4 black tea bags
cote des blanc yeast
pitched the yeast on October 20th 2009

I didn't have a hydrometer then so do not know what the starting gravity was.

Another question-
I read about this on many of the threads-- every one seems to rack off the lees quite a bit and it seems more frequently than I do- I tend to let them just sit there until there is about 1/4 inch of lees or so, is that wrong and should I be racking more often, or just let them do their thing? Most of the time I don't even think of racking until they are about 2 to 3 months going in the primary.
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Old 02-18-2010, 02:50 PM   #2
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Emerald - what kind of apple juice is this? I see it's a concentrate but which one? Most concentrates are designed as easy drinking juices and aren't tart at all. All the concentrate, and juice and cider for that matter, that I've ever used have required additions of acid to get the tartness up and prevent it from being too bland. I don't see that you used any. Perhaps it's tannins from the tea bags you're experiencing. Is the taste kind of like biting the inner shell of a pecan or more like biting into a lemon?

If you're sure it's too acidic it is too acid you can reduce it with calcium carbonate, Potassium bicarbonate or potassium bitartrate. You can get these additives at any LHBS or order online.

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Old 02-18-2010, 03:39 PM   #3
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The gallons were Indian summer and the concentrate was old orchard.
it is like trying to drink lemon juice that has been unsweetened for lemonade.
it makes ya make the whoa face!
I might have to just tell every one that it is hard lemonade!
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Old 02-18-2010, 05:05 PM   #4
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I think I see where the problem might be. You say this is a five gallon batch yet 4 gallons is juice and then you add the honey so, in effect, you've added three cans of unreconstitued concentrate. I believe this may be the cause of the aciditiy. You might want to try adding a teaspoon of calcium carbonate in the five gallon batch to reduce the acidity. Wait a day and try it and if that isn't enough, add another teaspoon.

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Old 02-18-2010, 06:01 PM   #5
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Another approach to acidity is to sweeten to balance it. I have made batches that were literally lemonade, then sweetened enough to make them tasty. It doesn't mean you have to make them syrupy sweet, just enough to make it nicely drinkable (though it will be very full bodied). You might take a big glass and sweeten it slowly until it tastes nice, then take a gravity measurement to see where it is.

I often find I like the results of sweetening better than my attempts to change the acidity with bicarbonates. YMMV.

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Old 02-18-2010, 07:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emerald View Post

Another question-
I read about this on many of the threads-- every one seems to rack off the lees quite a bit and it seems more frequently than I do- I tend to let them just sit there until there is about 1/4 inch of lees or so, is that wrong and should I be racking more often, or just let them do their thing? Most of the time I don't even think of racking until they are about 2 to 3 months going in the primary.
Nobody has addressed this yet with you. I was once told by a cider maker that he had never lost a batch for racking off the lees too early, but that he had lost batches for racking too late. So, I took it to heart and I was probably over racking, which was causing some problems to clear. I asked YooperBrew what she does, and she responded that after racking to the secondary, " I sometimes rack again within 45 days. Right now, I have a chokecherry that I put into secondary last week, and it has about 2.5 inches of sediment already! It'll compact down quite a bit, but I'll rack off of those gross lees within the next month or so. After that, I only rack whenever I get lees more than about 1/4" thick after 60 days. Sometimes, then, that's never again. Sometimes, I get wines that throw a lot of lees for a long time. I use campden tablets (one pergallon) at every other racking to help prevent oxidation. Then, I let it sit in the carboy until completely clear, no further lees drop over a period of several months, and I feel like bottling."

Hope that helps.
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Old 02-18-2010, 07:29 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the good answers- I usually rack the first time about 2 to 3 months, but I did rack one gallon at a month as it was clearing up really well and with the raisins there was quite a bit of lees building up, and it is fine so, as long as I am not waiting 6 months or so for the first racking it is ok.
I feel better now.
on the really tart wine, I am going to wait for it to fully clear up(or at least clear up more) and then try to drink a cup sweeten and see how it goes.
Now I have made cheese that use a calcium carbonate I will have to see if it is the same thing, that would save me another trip to the LBS.
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