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Old 20-05-2017, 10:26 AM posted to rec.crafts.winemaking
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Default safe pH level for elderflower/made wines

On Friday, June 1, 2012 at 1:29:17 PM UTC+1, charlottetraynor wrote:
Hi All,

This is my first post on this group - have only recently found the
group, but very glad I have!

As elderflower season is approaching us in the UK, I am assessing
records from last year's elderflower champagne batch and trying to
learn a bit more about the science behind wine making to improve our
drinks. I am particularly curious about pre-fermentation pH. We rely
only on wild yeasts for our elderflower champagne and have been
wondering wether there is a 'safe' pH zone for desirable yeasts?

In cider making (which I am *slightly* more versed on when it comes to
microbiology) I believe a safe pH zone is 2.8 - 3.2. Is this the same
for floral wines, or indeed any alcoholic drinks?

Although we have a recipe we are happy with, this year we were
thinking about adjusting the pH to an ideal level by adding lemon
juice until we reach this point - only problem being we're not sure
what this level is! We are hoping this will minimise any possibility
of spoilage and maximise shelf life of the final product.

If anyone has any ideas about this (or anything else you think is
relevant that I've not mentioned), any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks and all the best,


Hi Charlotte

I've not looked too closely at the PH of elderflower wine until this year. I've made it for a few years and last years was a bit too sweet for my liking. The acidity was all obtained from Lemon juice so it was likely to be variable being natural.

The acidity will affect how the wine feels in your mouth and how dry it seems and I guess getting the balance of sugar, acidity and tannin right is part of the fun.

Previously the recipe that I followed uses the juice and zest from 2 unwaxed lemons per 5 litres. This year I am going to use the zest and juice of three lemons but this year I will make a note of the PH!

You won't go far wrong with this level of acidity; fiddle about with it, make two smaller batches and make changes between them -whatever you do have fun doing it and enjoy the process.

I'm off now to do my first elderflower pick of the year to make elderflower cordial and 'champagne', next week I'll pick elderflowers for wine and the week after for elderflower cider. There will still be enough flowers to produce elderberries for my autumn wine and the trees left dripping in fruit for the birds!

Elder a brilliant way to get into home brewing and you can't really go too far wrong if you look after your sanitisation.