Using 3% is a bit low unless you also included 3% of the pepper weight also. I use homemade kraut or kimchi juice as a kick starter. I use a tiny bit of vinegar with low pH bottle water to get the pH in a better range. My tap water pH is high and its best to avoid chlorine when possible. You can also use a little lactic acid from brew shops to adjust your starting pH if you want to avoid vinegar.