Wine & Cider pH
December 21, 2009
When I was describing the differences between making beer, wine, and cider, I mentioned that they have different pH levels. A quick refresher, pH is measured on a scale of 0-14, where 7 is the middle and is neutral, such as water or milk. Things above 7 are considered basic, such as baking soda, lye, and chlorine, and things below 7 are considered acidic, such as lemons or vinegar. Now, beer, wine, and cider are all acidic, but to different degrees. In my case, I need to make wines and ciders in the 3.2-3.8 pH range. Anything more acidic (less than 3.2) will make it taste funny, which is what could be plaguing my cinnamon cranberry apple cider. Anything more towards neutral (greater than 3.8) could allow bacteria to grow and also have off flavors
Wine supply stores sell pH testing strips, which are great to have around. If the batch needs to be more acidic, lemon juice or acid blends also available at supply stores will help lower the pH. If the batch is too acidic already, the best advice is to try and find other fruit that is less acidic to averaging the pH of the batch.
I am aware that grape wines have three different kinds of acid already present, and that only one of those acids are really desirable, so there are special kits to test for this. However, other fruit do not contain all three of these acids, and so a simple pH test is all that is really needed.