Help with strawberry-apple wine pH/funky smell

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New Member
Oct 13, 2022
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Howdy HBT,

I was hoping someone could give me some guidance on what to do about this wine I was making. I used frozen strawberries, raisins and apple cider. I don't think the recipe really matters but I can post it if it would help. Basically, I made the must but had no acid on hand, so it went into fermentation with a pH of around 4.0. I figured I could just correct acidity later, but now I have info online about pH changing sodium metabisulfite effectiveness. Anyways, after about a day in primary it started to smell strange, I can't really say it was super sulfuric or gut wrenching. Just kind of strange but unpleasant. My acid came in the mail today (~5 days after yeast pitch) and I added it which got me to a pH of about 3.3 (1 lb malic acid). The smell seems to be gone for the most part now... I tasted some, it was very acidic - I couldn't really tell if it was boozy or not under the acid taste. Gravity is at 1.008 and it seems pretty inactive so I will move it to secondary tomorrow if all is well. The wine tastes pretty normal except for the acidity and a bit of that smell here and there.

Basically my question is should I dump it or stay the course and age it? It is bit too acidic for my taste, but I don't really want to dump $60 down the drain. I also don't want to poison myself if there were nasties in there.

Any feedback is appreciated, thank you.
Quick update: just looked at the brew and there is a disgusting amount of lees at the bottom of my bucket ~2 inches, I would loose about a gallon racking off of it. Not sure if I am just being paranoid but could this be bacteria or something settling out? It could just be other things but I don't remember seeing lees that deep yesterday. Haze is brown, could be yeast/pulp but it is definitely a darker color than the lees on my first wine.