Kit Wine Experiment - Malolactic Fermentation (MLF) Part 1

Discussion in 'Kit Winemaking' started by James Ruiz, Nov 7, 2019.

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  1. Nov 16, 2019 #21

    James Ruiz

    James Ruiz

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    UPDATE 1:

    So I received the kit and am currently gathering the rest of the required equipment/materials.

    I gave myself a scare by reading the ingredients and thinking that list was for the grape juice concentrate. I saw the potassium sorbate and thought it was ruined.

    The experiment will kick off shortly! Stay tuned.
     

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  2. Nov 17, 2019 #22

    Boatboy24

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    Looking forward to the results on this. I would suggest doing several chromatography tests. One when you pitch the yeast, one when pitching the MLB, one 2-3 weeks after pitching the MLB, one 4-6 weeks after MLB and maybe another a few weeks after that. I suspect I know what the results will be, but am looking forward to your trials and formal testing. If I may, I recommend detailed documentation - you may find yourself with a great article for Winemaker magazine.
     
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  3. Nov 25, 2019 #23

    James Ruiz

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    UPDATE 2:

    Primary fermentation has begun!

    As of yesterday morning, I have 2 buckets with 3 gal each undergoing primary fermentation. I want to make both batches with as much consistency as possible so that the only differing variable is the malolactic conversion on the one batch. With that in mind, my procedure for separating the batches was as follows:

    1. I started by separating the bentonite and yeast packets into 2 equal portions for each ingredient, 1/2 bentonite packet and 1/2 yeast packet for each batch.
    2. I then Carefully measured and separated the juice concentrate into the separate buckets.
    3. Added the bentonite to each batch and topped up with water to the 3 gal mark.
    4. Took a gravity reading from each sample and luckily ended up with the same gravity on the first try. 1.090 on the dot for each batch.
    5. I tried to take a pH reading using test strips but the result was skewed by the wine color. I thought the strips I bought were able to be used with red wine but I guess not.
    6. Took a malic acid reading using test strips and both batches showed the same result of >300mg/l.
    7. Pitched the yeast, covered, and set aside to ferment.


    Lessons learned:

    -the pH test strips I bought were not the proper strips for red wine. I'm not sure if there are any that will work but I plan to buy a digital meter for the subsequent readings.


    Moving forward:

    I plan to inoculate for MLF this evening or tomorrow morning. My decision will be based on how steadily the fermentation is proceeding (when the bubbler is consistent and frequent I'll pitch the bacteria).



    As always, your thoughts and input are appreciated.

    -Cheers
     

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  4. Nov 25, 2019 #24

    mainshipfred

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    Sounds like you are doing everything you can for a proper test.
     
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  5. Dec 4, 2019 #25

    James Ruiz

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    UPDATE 3:

    It worked!

    Here's a breakdown of the process since the last update:

    11/25 - added LAB to the MLF batch.

    11/29 - Took SG readings on both batches: Control - .996, MLF - 1.002

    11/30 - Took SG readings on both batches: Control - .994, MLF - .996.

    I also took malic acid readings from both batches and was pleasantly surprised to see that MLF was working: Control - >300 mg/l, MLF <75 mg/l

    12/2 - Took SG readings and racked into 3 gal. carboys: Control - .996, MLF - .993.
    Took malic acid readings: Control - >300 mg/l, MLF - <75 mg/l.
    At this point it seemed that the malic acid conversion was complete so I proceeded with following the kit instructions: Added k-meta, added kieselsol, stirred/degassed.
    The kit wanted me to add k-sorbate but I tossed that package.

    12/3 - Took pH readings: Control - 3.39, MLF - 3.60
    At this point we (my wife and I) tasted both batches and there is definitely a difference. The control batch was much more fruit forward and had more of an acidic bite to it. The MLF batch was slightly more bland which I guess is the flabby effect that people keep mentioning.
    Even though the MLF batch pH was in an acceptable range, I went ahead and added 15g of tartaric acid to improve the taste.
    Added chitosan, added 2oz. oak, stirred/degassed.


    From here I plan to bulk age for about 2 months before bottling. I'll taste test the batches periodically to make sure the oak isn't too strong and give you all updates.

    The attached photo is from the 12/2 malic acid test.

    -Cheers


    P.S. - What's the best way to add marbles to a carboy?
     

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  6. Dec 4, 2019 #26

    Brian55

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    Give the marbles to your kids to play with, and top it up with a similar wine.
     
  7. Dec 4, 2019 #27

    mainshipfred

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    Based on how thorough you were with the procedure and your notes I find it hard to have any doubts your findings are correct. The only thing I'm having trouble with is the time it took for the test to drop that much. My only conclusion would be dumping a 66 gallon dose of MLB in a 3 gallon vessel. Great job though!
     
  8. Dec 4, 2019 #28

    1d10t

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    I think 'we' need to adopt the attitude that top up wine is just wine we will drink later.
     
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  9. Dec 4, 2019 #29

    James Ruiz

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    I was surprised as well. Everything I read had me expecting a 3-4 week MLF.

    I actually only used about half the package because I was worried about over inoculating, if that's a thing. That's still a lot of bacteria for 3 gallons though.
     
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  10. Dec 4, 2019 #30

    James Ruiz

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    So at what point is there a risk of dilution? How much volume is too much to top up with another wine?
     
  11. Dec 4, 2019 #31

    mainshipfred

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    When I top up I almost always use a similar wine I made. So to me it's still my wine. You may not have that luxury yet but even so the amount of a commercial wine you will use for a carboy will still be a very small proportion.
     
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  12. Dec 5, 2019 #32

    1d10t

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    The point is to make a good wine. There are many paths. Topping up can be used as an opportunity to improve your wine. Hence my post.
     
  13. Dec 5, 2019 #33

    sour_grapes

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    Furthermore, you could do a test. Next time you open one of your wines, pour two glasses. Then add ~5% of a commercial wine (so, about 1.2 tsp) to one of the glasses. Tell me if you can distinguish them.
     
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  14. Dec 10, 2019 #34

    Mario Dinis

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    I used Weast 4007 on Merlot with success and CH-16 on Cab Sauv and Petite Syrah with Opti-Malo.
     
  15. Dec 11, 2019 #35

    James Ruiz

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    Good point. I doubt anyone could tell the difference with such a small amount.
     
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