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jaxn slim
01-27-2010, 01:35 PM
1. Do you pre-emptively treat the pH of your must?
I made a strawberry melomel recently with clover honey, and the pH was 3.3 before I added yeast. After adding 2tsp of CaCO3, pH got up to 3.9. After fermenting about halfway, the pH is back down to 3.2. Should I just ride it out or add some CaCO3?

2. Is clover mead more acidic than most?
I've used clover, orange blossom, wildflower, and non-varietal honeys. The only one that seems to get stuck due to pH is clover.

wayneb
01-27-2010, 04:05 PM
I don't usually pre-emptively treat my musts for low pH, unless the initial measurement is below about 3.4. I've found that except for traditionals using light honeys, I don't get enough pH drop with the onset of fermentation to stress my yeast too much. But that is true for me, when I use my local water supply. Your water may be different, starting out lower in pH, or perhaps containing fewer dissolved solids that can act as buffers. What you do should eventually be based on your experience with different recipes, different yeasts, and different honeys.

If you've reached the halfway point and fermentation is still going strong, I wouldn't worry about another adjustment at this time. The pH is most likely as low as it is going to go, and as fermentation slows (and the amount of dissolved CO2 comes down from the saturation point), pH may actually rise just a little for you.

Clover is not inherently more acidic, but clover honeys tend to not have much in the way of natural buffers (clover is one of the lightest varietals available in North America), so the pH swing you get may be more pronounced with clover than with the other honeys that you've used.

Medsen Fey
01-27-2010, 04:08 PM
1. Do you pre-emptively treat the pH of your must? the pH is back down to 3.2. Should I just ride it out or add some CaCO3?

If the fermentation is progressing normally, I wouldn't adjust the pH any further. Most yeast can tolerate a pH of 3.2 without problem.

Usually I don't treat preemptively, but if you have a batch that prior experience tells you is going to have a pH drop, it certainly makes sense to do so. That is where having experience with your particular honey and recipe makes a big difference.


2. Is clover mead more acidic than most?


I've not found that clover is more acidic or prone to pH drops, but I don't use a lot of clover - I live in Orange Blossom country. The study of varietal honey (http://www.beesource.com/resources/usda/survey-of-american-honeys-part-2-characterization-of-individual-floral-types-of-honey/) by J.W. White did suggest that sweet yellow clover was below average on acid content and pH which would make for mead prone to pH drops since there would be less buffering capacity with lower total acid. Again, honey is a highly variable product from year to year and location to location so you may have some that is more likely to drop the pH. The good news is that having that familiarity with your raw materials will allow you to get the very best results. :)