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Apple cider pH adjustment

Hello everyone:

The apple juice we will be fermenting is from a variety of dessert apples and has a pH of 4.05 (OG of 1.040). I have some questions on tweaking cider acidity.

Would you recommend lowering the pH to make it a little tarter?

The references I have use malic acid to lower pH, but my LHB store only has citric acid. Can I use that to lower pH?

Is there a reference of tool on-line that will help me calculate how much acidifier is needed to lower pH to the target range for a 5-gal batch?

You can use citric acid, but malic acid is best. Personally, I would recommend just fermenting it out the way it is, then adjusting the acid at bottling time if necessary. You might find your hard cider turns out more acidic than you think. If you do add any acid, just add a tiny amount, like 1/4 teaspoon at a time, until it tastes right. Use less than you think you need. I have overdone acid before and it’s better I think to underdo it than overdo it.

Do NOT use citric acid pre-fermentation; it gets converted during the fermentation process and you will lose any benefit. Malic acid works best for cider, though not every homebrew shop sells it. Most do sell acid blend, which is usually a 60-30-10 or similar mix of tartaric (60%), malic (30%) and citric (10%). That has worked for me in a pinch. If that isn’t available either, follow Dave’s advice and adjust acid post-fermentation. Though if it was me, I wouldn’t use citric acid then either. It gives a distinctive lemony character.

You can always order the correct acid from NB…

Thank you, gentlemen. I’ll hold off fooling with the pH and look for malic acid while the must is fermenting (which it is doing very well right now).

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