Friday, September 4, 2009

Something new to monitor: pH

One of the major considerations in wine & mead fermentation is pH. Let it get too low (acidic) and the yeast pretty much take a break. Fermentation's slowed way down on both my mead and braggot, so it's time to start keeping a close eye on the next two weeks of fermentation. So, with my fancy-pants pH monitor, I trekked on down to the basement and took samples of each.

Yes, I tasted them, and they're pretty darn yummy - especially the braggot. I'm honestly surprised at how subdued the hops are, given the quantity in it. The mead tastes like sweet & tart yeast water right now. Not a bad start, I guess. Better than tasting like funk.

Braggot pH: 3.94. A little high, but pretty close to right where I want it to be. Awesome.
Mead pH: 2.89. Uh oh.

How to fix? Calcium carbonate. Yes, chalk. According to my rusty-trusty Ken Schramm book, you add 1/2 tsp at a time, stirring and measuring each time, until the pH is back up to about 3.8 again. I added 2.5 teaspoons to get it up to where it should be (it ended up at 3.82).

So, here we are, back on our way to a healthy fermentation. Only 5.75 months to go before it's ready to drink. Ugh!

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