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Help - raise raspberry wine pH?

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rhys333

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I tasted my parents raspberry wine the other day, and while flavorful it was incredibly acidic for my tastes. As a brewer, do I have a pH meter on hand so I tested it and got a puckering 2.75 reading! I'm guessing it should be raised to the 3.2-3.4 range.

I'd like to help them improve the next batch, and I'm wondering what to add and how much of it. Calcium carbonate perhaps, or something else? They don't have a pH meter handy unless I'm there, so if there's an easy way to estimate how much (i.e.: x teaspoons of pH raiser per gallon), that woud be great.

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

jgmillr1

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Calcium carbonate is the way to go. There is no good dosing rule of thumb to raise pH because the juice is strongly buffered, but what you are actually wanting to do is lower the TA while keeping the pH in a good range. You taste the TA, not the pH. Only the yeast, microbes and sulfites really care about the pH.

So, I would measure the TA and plan on lowering it to about 10g/L or as close as you can get. Do this with a 1L trial and then verify the pH is 3.1-3.4. Then simply scale up the dose for the rest of the juice. You'll still need to back-sweeten but i'm figuring you're going to do that anyway.
 

bernardsmith

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Totally agree that the issue is TA and not pH but you want the TA to be closer to about 6 or 7g/L - 10g/L seems a mite too bitter. (white wines are usually around 6 -6.5 g of acid per liter)
 

jgmillr1

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This is an excellent point that your end stylistic choice for your wine will need to determine the TA. There is no wrong answer for the style you prefer. A drier style would certainly need to be in the 6-7 range for TA, while a sweeter style needs more acid.

My preference for the tart fruit wines (cranberry, blackberry, lemon, etc) is to leave a fair amount of the acid intact so I can sweeten the wine to about 5-6% sugar and have it as a reasonably balanced reflection of the fruit. But this simply falls to your personal preference.

On a practical note though, I found that I was unable to deacidify lemon juice below 20g/L using calcium carbonate without the pH rising over 3.5. I decided to leave it at 25g/L (pH 3.3) and dilute with water some to decrease the flavor intensity while lowering the TA. The lemon juice is so strongly buffered that the pH didn't change more than 0.03. At least raspberries are not starting with as much acid as lemons, so you may have plenty of range to get the TA where you want it.
 
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