View Full Version : Low p.h. in a high grav must

01-19-2011, 06:23 PM
so i decided to make a 18 % alc mead. been awhile sincei made one and i dont remember any problems before. so lets start with recipe

water and honey to o.g. 1.135
dv-10 yeast with go ferm
galalcool sp (tannin)
using fermaid k and d.a.p. in a step feeding method
cream of tarter ( very small amount very small )

60 gallon batch

ok so i mixed all up and pitched yeast. next day added a little ferm k and dap then i took a p.h. reading. 3.2 !!!! i almost jumped out of my pants. recalibrated the digital ph meter and took the reading again. same reading 3.2 . now its fermenting like a champ dropping 10 points a day or more. im worried its gonna stall before i get half way done. my musts always start real high like 4.5 - 5.0 ph and drop from there. never have i had a musy this low on the ph scale at the start.

is this common for a high gravity must ? i have made a few in the past before i got a good ph meter and never had a problem finishing but now im a little worried.

any thought or ideas ?

01-19-2011, 07:30 PM
pH will drop during the first day or so, 3.2 is not uncommon for a traditional mead with not much buffering agents added. As long as it continues at a steady pace, nothing to worry about. If you see it slowing down early, you can bump the pH back up toward 3.5 and see if it helps. If you are worried despite this, moving the pH up a little now shouldn't hurt the fermentation, and you can always add acid to taste at the end.

01-19-2011, 10:10 PM
should i maybe add some calcium or k- carbonate to help buffer? im just worried about taste and stuff falling out a few months down the road.

does a low ph like this create off flavors from the yeast like a high temp or nutrient starved yeast does ?

01-20-2011, 12:24 AM
Low pH can stall/stress the yeast. Sometimes it does not. Adding some potassium carbonate to get to 3.5 won't hurt the mead and should give you some peace of mind.

Medsen Fey
01-20-2011, 11:08 AM
DV10 is pretty tolerant of low pH like other Champagne yeast. It shouldn't give you problems at that level (3.2), but if you want to raise the pH to 3.5, it won't hurt anything.

Dan McFeeley
01-20-2011, 03:05 PM
The pH is sort of on the edge of stressing the yeast, but it's already been pointed out that the yeast strain you're using can probably handle it.

The cream of tartar you've added is also a buffer and will help keep the pH stable. Might be best to leave it be and just monitor the pH from time to time.


01-20-2011, 06:55 PM
yeah checked today still goign strong dropped another 10 points on the s.g. .

ok so i know k carbonate is the preferred choice for a buffer, but compared to calcium carbonate what is the diffrence as in getting it out of your wine after, effect on taste things liek that ? ive never had a real low ph liek this and never had to use these. i think im gooing to start adding the k carbonate to high grav musts instead of the cream of tarter from now on.

01-20-2011, 07:31 PM
I don't think you can get either K or Ca carbonate out of your mead without some interesting chemistry experiments. Neither will have much of a flavor impact outside the effect on acidity. Na bicarbonate (baking soda) will give your mead a salty flavor if used in excess. K is preferred to Ca because it dissolves faster. If you are adding and checking the pH, you can more easily overshoot with Ca.

Medsen Fey
01-20-2011, 09:17 PM
Potassium is a non-issue. It mostly gets taken up by the yeast internally, and precipitates out with the yeast.