Friday, March 27, 2009

Adjusting Acid Levels in Wine

Our recent winemaking blogs (the past 4) have dealt with various aspects of the acidity levels in wine. Now that we know the desired levels of acidity for various types of wine and the tools we need when making wine to determine the present level we also need to know how to raise and lower the acid levels if they are too high or too low.

Compare your acid test results with the desired acidity range for the type of wine that you are making. It is very easy to raise acid levels. You can use the acid blend that is available on the BlueStem Winery web site to increase acidity. The addition of 3.9 grams of acid blend will raise the acid level present in one gallon of wine by 0.1%. The type acids present in the acid blend you use is also important. BlueStem Winery custom blends its own acid blend and it consists of 50% tartaric, 40% malic and 10% citric acids. A large percentage of the acid blends sold by wine shops contain 50% citric acid (because it is cheap!) rather than the more desireable tartaric acid which is much more expensive. If you do not have a scale you can guesstimate by using a set of measuring spoons from the kitchen. A level full quarter teaspoon will weigh approximately 1.2 grams. A full teaspoon will weigh approximately 5 grams.

Increasing acid levels is easy. Having to decrease acid levels is a less desirable situation. Large decreases in acidity are very undesirable. BlueStem Winery has three products available for the decrease of acid levels. First there is either calcium carbonate or potassium carbonate (these can be used interchangeably) and then there is a product called Acidex.

Use the carbonates to reduce acid levels only if you are going to reduce acids by 0.4% or less. Two and one-half grams of carbonate will lower one gallon of wine by 0.1% TA. Use the instructions on the Acidex package for directions on its use. For those without a scale, a quarter teaspoon of carbonate weighs about a half gram and a full teaspoon weighs approximately 2.5 grams.

Enough on the home wine making for a few days. Our next blog articles will deal with some aspects of beer brewing including some home brew supplies and brewing equipment. My son is a big Guinness fan and I have to get my home brewing stuff out and get a batch of BlueStems Best Irish Stout in the works. A large number of our customers have said that this Irish Stout tastes better than Guinness and we'll put that theory to a major test with my son! Check out our complete line of beer making supplies and wine making kits on the BlueStem Winery web site. We carry both the WinExpert and Cellar Craft wine kits and either will make you a fine batch of homemade wine!

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