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Checking Malolactic Fermentation

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BlueStimulator

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So since I am so new and have been sitting on my first crush of red and white grapes. I did add a culture of Malolactic bacteria when the secondary was complete and have been sitting on them for 4 months. They have been stored in my shop covered and between 55 and 60 degrees. I am getting read to rack and want to check if the ML fermentation is complete. So here is my question what is the most economical way to check my 4 types of wines Cab Franc, Cab Sav, Petie Verdot and Viognier for Malolactic fermentation completeness.

You all have been such a big help in my learning process
 

havlikn

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There is a malolactic testing kit you can purchase. I believe it is around 70$. The other options would include just adding s02 as it has been four months and that is getting up there in time for no s02 protection.
If they are in glass carboys you can look for tiny little bubbles being released on the surface. While that is not the best method, it does give you some guidance.
 

Ajmassa

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No personal experience. About to perform my 1st MLF for Chilean.
Not the best value compared to chromography papers. Only 10 tests. With 4 batches you would need minimum 8 total to check if there has been a change between tests.
Your probably better off getting the paper test kit for another $30 and and have the ability for many more tests.
 

Johny99

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I'm with havlikn, very likely it is done.

I use paper chromatography. Once you buy the test kit, the per test costs are minimal. All World Scientific in Monroe has a nice kit if you can't find one locally.
 

Landwaster

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You'll want to get a malolactic paper chromatography test kit like this one:

http://www.piwine.com/chromatography-test-kit-vertical-paper.html

I personally wouldn't go by bubbling or time. The $60 test kit will last you a few seasons. Several years ago we did a large batch of Barbera, not ML inoculated, and the cellar temp got pretty cold over the winter. In the spring there was some light fizzing. A few months later on we bottled, and a few months after that corks started popping and spraying wine everywhere. I assume it was the MLF starting up again as the temps got warmer.
 

WineLoverMark

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So since I am so new and have been sitting on my first crush of red and white grapes. I did add a culture of Malolactic bacteria when the secondary was complete and have been sitting on them for 4 months. They have been stored in my shop covered and between 55 and 60 degrees. I am getting read to rack and want to check if the ML fermentation is complete. So here is my question what is the most economical way to check my 4 types of wines Cab Franc, Cab Sav, Petie Verdot and Viognier for Malolactic fermentation completeness.

You all have been such a big help in my learning process
If the wine has been stored at 55-60 F, it's likely it was too cold for the MLF to complete. You should be storing it at 70 F during the MLF phase. Also, MLF will be very slow if the pH was less than 3.3 or if you sulfited the wine. Weekly stir of the lees also helps drive MLF to completion.
 

ceeaton

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I did add a culture of Malolactic bacteria when the secondary was complete and have been sitting on them for 4 months.
Jason, just curious. What MLB strain did you end up using? If it was VP41 it could have completed, even at your lower temperatures. I'd warm the carboys up if you can, maybe give it a stir. I use paper chromatography, and in the long run, if you are going to keep making wine, it is pretty cheap.
 

BlueStimulator

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I looked at my notes and all I wrote down was "added MLF culture" as a noob I won't make that mistake again. I think it was a batch for 6 gallon of wheats. I racked a week ago and temps have been up, tonight the temp on the carboy was 65-70. I wrapped on the side and some very small bubbles came up not a lot but some. I do have the carboys under vacuum.

Then I looked at the one gallon jugs which are stored 5 feet higher and a little warmer and in all of the air locks the fluid is in the position like some CO2 is being released so I am ordering a MLF paper kit and leaving all alone. I won't be adding any Camden tabs till I know it is complete
 

skeenatron

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Send me some samples, I'll tell you exactly how much malic acid you have left.
 

thachboothief

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New to forum and this thread...

Ditto to all who commented paper chromatography. I also use kit got from http://www.piwine.com/chromatography...cal-paper.html and they are great.

I found that a sheet can accommodate 3 separate varietals very well, though it claims to go up to 4 samples. I tried 4 at one point and the markings bled into one another, so, 3 is good. The sheet folded to cylindrical round sits well inside the gallon jug that comes with the kit. Just don't jostle the vessel during the submersion period as this effects the reading because it relies sole on the wicking process of the paper.

Good luck
 

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