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BM 4x4 and Malolactive Fermentation

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Paulietivo

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I was considering using BM 4x4 for my Italian reds and then following with wyeast 4007 malolactive cultures. While searching the web to learn about BM 4x4, Scott laboratories shows it as below average compatibility with malolactive fermentation. I emailed them to get an answer and wanted to post the reply on here because I know that its a popular yeast. Also has anyone done MLF following BM 4x4 and could test the completion of MLF? What were your results?

Hi Paul,

Using BM 4 x 4 can be tricky as it has a High Nitrogen requirement and- as you read - has low compatibility with ML.
As a home winemaker, I would probably steer away from this strain for those 2 reasons.
Do you have the ability to test YAN (Nitrogen) of your must? This is important to know how much added nutrient your fermentation will need.
I would try to select a strain that has Low to Medium Nitrogen requirements and also has good or excellent compatibility with ML.
If you have your heart set on this strain, then I recommend rehydration of yeast with GoFerm, or Go Ferm Protect Evolution;
and adding in Nitrogen in the form of Fermaid O, or Fermaid K to your main fermentation at the appropriate time.
Additionally, I would consider choosing a strong Malolactic strain like VP-41, as well as a ML nutrient such as ML Red Boost, to ensure the best chance of ML completion with BM 4 x 4.
Please see our Yeast Chart in the winemaking handbook on our website for some other yeast choices (see pages 11- 14 for the charts for whites and reds)
https://scottlab.com/content/files/Documents/Handbooks/WinemakingHandbook2020.pdf
If you are looking for mouthfeel, CVRP or D254 could be good alternatives.
Let me know if you have any questions!
Cheers,
JULIA CROSBY VAZQUEZ
Inside Technical Sales — Fermentation & Enology
Scott Laboratories
p. 707 765 6666 x 114
 

ibglowin

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I used it twice in 2013.

One was on a batch of Zin. ph was 3.76. I used CH16 post AF. MLB was added on 10/14/13 and MLF was complete on 2/2/14.

2nd batch was Sangiovese. pH was 3.54 I used CH16 post AF. MLB was added on 10/14/13 and MLF was only 50% complete on 2/2/14. I tried unsuccessfully to get it to finish out but it never did and I stuck a fork in it and added KMETA on 3/12/14.

I have to say the Sangiovese that was made with BM4X4 was the most amazing wine I ever made. It smelled amazing when fermenting and then the taste test when it was racked to glass was equally amazing for a (very) young wine. This was one of the best wines I ever made to this day. Hands down.

I would say keep your pH up on the high side as MLB doesn't like low pH usually. And use a heavy hitter MLB.

I think it was worth it in the end.

YMMV.
 

cmason1957

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I have used BM 4x4 and then done MLF to completion several times. You do have to pay attention to nutrient levels and be ready to give it some extra, but I don't find it to be a big problem. I would not recomment the Wyeast 4007 to be used with it. Many folks have reported having trouble getting MLF to start using that strain. I have used CH16, VP41, EnoFerm Alpha and also Beta for MLF and all have been successful. I don't have my exact notes in front of me, but I would expect MLF to take at least a month and probably two or three. I always inoculate after Alcohol Fermentation is complete and I have racked to a glass carboy and then racked again after about 3 or 5 days. I will concur with Mike that BM4x4 makes a very good big red wine, mine was done with Chambourcin, Norton, Cab Sauv, Zin, and probably Merlot, maybe a few other varietals that I'm not thinking of, while working.
 
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Paulietivo

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Thanks for the replies. I may shy away from it this year. It sounds like it can be done if carefully monitored and also the correct ph and nutrients.
I have never measured for mlf completion so I would be guessing as to when and if it would be complete.
 

cmason1957

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You really do want to send your reds through MLF. If for no other reason than to avoid it happening in the bottle spontaneously a few years down the road. MLF is not at all hard to do, pretty much add no or very little SO2 at the crush pad, add the correct MLB nutrients, add the bacteria, wait. I stir mine gently once or twice a week, while it is undergoing MLF. To measure completeness, there are two main ways, well three, if you call tasting and deciding the wine isn't sharp any more. 1) chromotography, $80 to run many, many tests. 2) Test Strips, I use test strips, one drop, wait five minutes. Not as inexpensive as chromotography, but you can tell an absolute range of amount of malic acid left.
 

Paulietivo

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You really do want to send your reds through MLF. If for no other reason than to avoid it happening in the bottle spontaneously a few years down the road. MLF is not at all hard to do, pretty much add no or very little SO2 at the crush pad, add the correct MLB nutrients, add the bacteria, wait. I stir mine gently once or twice a week, while it is undergoing MLF. To measure completeness, there are two main ways, well three, if you call tasting and deciding the wine isn't sharp any more. 1) chromotography, $80 to run many, many tests. 2) Test Strips, I use test strips, one drop, wait five minutes. Not as inexpensive as chromotography, but you can tell an absolute range of amount of malic acid left.
Thanks @cmason1957 I definitely will do mlf on my reds. What I meant is that I will use another yeast instead of BM 4x4. I will use CLOS on my reds this year.
And thats good info on the MLF test, I will look into it.
 

Trevisan

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I have used BM 4x4 and then done MLF to completion several times. You do have to pay attention to nutrient levels and be ready to give it some extra, but I don't find it to be a big problem. I would not recomment the Wyeast 4007 to be used with it. Many folks have reported having trouble getting MLF to start using that strain. I have used CH16, VP41, EnoFerm Alpha and also Beta for MLF and all have been successful. I don't have my exact notes in front of me, but I would expect MLF to take at least a month and probably two or three. I always inoculate after Alcohol Fermentation is complete and I have racked to a glass carboy and then racked again after about 3 or 5 days. I will concur with Mike that BM4x4 makes a very good big red wine, mine was done with Chambourcin, Norton, Cab Sauv, Zin, and probably Merlot, maybe a few other varietals that I'm not thinking of, while working.
Thank you for your contribution. Soon I will make a blend 70% SanGio and 30% CabSauv from Livermore Valley. I like big reds so I will follow your recommendation.
 

ceeaton

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I used BM 4x4 on a Zin and used CH35 post ferment and it completed in two weeks. Never had issues with MLF if pH was above 3.3. The wine is really flavorful, I feel it is a really good yeast for reds in general.
 

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