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Stevelaz

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Im looking ahead to this years Chilean juice and i am going to do a mlf on this batch. It will be 18 gallons of Merlot. and have a few questions to all that have done it with the product im using.

After searching this forum it seems that the recommended culture is the Lalvin VP-41. The smallest pack is for 66 gallons.

Should i hydrate and use the whole package on my 18 gallons or cut in half or more? I do not mind buying the whole pack and using it if thats the recommended way.

Im doing my primary with all the juice in a larger barrel and then racking to a 14.5 gallon demijohn and a 3 gallon carboy when fermentation is just about complete. My plan was to add the vp-41 at that time once the juice had been transferred . I was going to spit the mixed culture accordingly adding it to the demi and carboy. Does that sound ok?

Im also planning on using opti malo.

Thanks for the input!
 

Johnd

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Im looking ahead to this years Chilean juice and i am going to do a mlf on this batch. It will be 18 gallons of Merlot. and have a few questions to all that have done it with the product im using.

After searching this forum it seems that the recommended culture is the Lalvin VP-41. The smallest pack is for 66 gallons.

Should i hydrate and use the whole package on my 18 gallons or cut in half or more? I do not mind buying the whole pack and using it if thats the recommended way.

Im doing my primary with all the juice in a larger barrel and then racking to a 14.5 gallon demijohn and a 3 gallon carboy when fermentation is just about complete. My plan was to add the vp-41 at that time once the juice had been transferred . I was going to spit the mixed culture accordingly adding it to the demi and carboy. Does that sound ok?

Im also planning on using opti malo.

Thanks for the input!
I've always used the 66 gal pack for smaller batches, I understand that it doesn't keep well one opened. Not everyone agrees with this method, but I've been pitching MLB just after AF starts, and so far have had good results. The method you describe will work just fine for your planned batch.
 

Stevelaz

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Also, is it ok to do malo in a plastic better bottle carboy? I dont see why not but just thought id ask. I will have most of my batch in a glass demijohn and the rest in a 3 gallon carboy, probably better bottle.
 

Johny99

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I don't see why not. Mine goes through malo in whatever it is in, oak, glass, plastic. Hard to stop the reproductive desires of small bugs!
 

Ajmassa

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What yeast do you plan on using? And also if using opti malo, would that take the place of opti red if I was planning to use that as well??
 

zadvocate

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Opti malo is mlf nutrient totally different than Opti red which is an additive for red wine to protect color etc...
 

cgallamo

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I just used VP-41 with the method described by @JohnD (pitching right when AF starts). It worked well, saving some time and exposure by starting earlier. I added Opti-Malo at that time as well.
 

Ajmassa

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Correction sorry, I did not mean opti-red. My question was using opti-malo in addition to Acti-ML. But morewine had a great PDF breaking all info down And gave the malo bacteria & nutrient an analogy to yeast. With ACTI-ML acting as Go-Ferm Protect would for yeast. And opti-malo acting as Fermaid-K would.
Am I correct to assume that if adding ML right at AF, then a barrel or carboy would be used, not primary buckets. Trying to find out how risky a transfer would be after MLF has begun.
 

Johnd

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Am I correct to assume that if adding ML right at AF, then a barrel or carboy would be used, not primary buckets. Trying to find out how risky a transfer would be after MLF has begun.
Any and all of the above can work out just fine. If you choose to inoculate your wine post AF, then it could be in a carboy, or a barrel, or a flex tank, or any other proper storage vessel, no worries there at all, just make sure to have an airlock in place to allow the exit of gases.

As for the primary bucket, that's not a problem either if you choose to do it that way. My last several grape batches have been inoculated with VP41/ActiML/OptiMalo just after the lag phase of the yeast (co-inoculation) with good results. Just remember to keep feeding both your yeast and MLB during AF. Once AF is over, the must is pressed and the wine goes into carboys, racked off of the gross lees a few days later, and is still in carboys where it has completed MLF in a few weeks.

If you are thinking about adding MLB just at the end of AF and racking shortly thereafter, you should probably wait a tad to avoid leaving bacteria behind. The typical post AF MLB inoculation time frame would be to press your grapes and put your wine into a vessel for a few days, rack off of the gross lees a couple or three days later, then add your MLB culture and nutrients.
 

Stevelaz

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I racked my reds, 24 gallons, total and added malo. I used vp41 and rehydrated with acti ml. I mixed the whole package and divided it up accordingly between the demi and carboys...I then added opti malo plus to them. However, i think i may have double dosed my 4 gallon carboy, i was distracted and kinda lost track of what i had done.

Is there any harm with the double dose of opti malo plus?

Also, when do i start testing with the Chromatography Test Kit... I haven't gotten it yet but plan to order today..
 

Johnd

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I racked my reds, 24 gallons, total and added malo. I used vp41 and rehydrated with acti ml. I mixed the whole package and divided it up accordingly between the demi and carboys...I then added opti malo plus to them. However, i think i may have double dosed my 4 gallon carboy, i was distracted and kinda lost track of what i had done.

Is there any harm with the double dose of opti malo plus?

Also, when do i start testing with the Chromatography Test Kit... I haven't gotten it yet but plan to order today..
The risk is that you end up with unused nutrients when MLF is complete, which is available for other bacteria for food. Proper sanitation and SO2 management will handle that for you.

You can take PC tests whenever you like, but don't be discouraged if you don't see results for weeks. Personally, I test first in the 4-6 week range, the every week or two.
 

Stevelaz

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Thanks John, So i have nothing to worry about during MLF, right? And your talking about SO2 management AFTER MLF, right?

Ok on the testing, i just wasn't sure if it should be tested right away to get a base reading....
 

Johnd

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Thanks John, So i have nothing to worry about during MLF, right? And your talking about SO2 management AFTER MLF, right?

Ok on the testing, i just wasn't sure if it should be tested right away to get a base reading....
You don't need to be overly concerned about the nutrient issue, and, yes, SO2 management post MLF is what I am referring to.

If you've never done a chromo, go ahead and do one now for a base reading, I do that sometimes too. It'll be good practice with your new kit, you'll find it very easy once you go through the process.
 

Ajmassa

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Yet another Malo question. But I'll spare the forum a whole new thread.

When choosing the time to first inoculate your wine with ML it seems like a good majority prefer after primary is complete, still though some prefer towards the beginning of primary.
I've just inoculated two batches. Due to some funky timing issues batch #1 was done right after yeast's lag phase and batch #2 started together with yeast (via skins).
If everything ends up working out I cannot see myself NOT repeating the ML addition during primary. Reasons being:
A. If it ain't broke don't fix it
B. Gaining a week or so of time which helps with the extended lack of so2 protection

Are there benefits to waiting until after primary or is it just personal preference ??
 

zadvocate

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Just did my second co-incoculation and mlf is almost complete at time of pressing. 30ppm. Seems to work great for me. I will always follow this method. There is a lot of great material online supporting/advocating this method.
 

Ajmassa

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Wow. So what's that, a week tops? I didn't even plan on checking the malo progress for a couple weeks. I'll be checking sooner.
And I've read a couple articles about co-inoculation. But was curious about the benefits of waiting until after primary.
More specifically how detrimental can the gross lees and open container be to the process? Are we losing a portion of the malic conversions in the unused gross lees?
 
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Stevelaz

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Are you supposed to add opti malo during the mlf, after the initial addition? I added it at the beginning when inoculating with the vp41. Its been about 3 week now...
 

Ajmassa

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I did a 1/2 dose of opti-malo after I racked off the gross lees as recommended by Johnd. And also have been stirring up the fine lees into suspension about twice a week.
I actually only added 1/2 dose to one batch. Forgot to do the other that was a week behind. But I really wasn't sweating it. My chroma test showed both moving along nice and quick.
 

Stevelaz

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I did mine from fresh juice. I racked after primary and then started malo along with nutrient. Just wondering if nutrient needs to be added again.

By the way, when you stir once or twice a week are you supossed to go down to the bottom and stir up the muck on the bottom?
 

Ajmassa

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Yea, apparently the fine lees is actually good for the malo and helps it along to do its thing. It was explained to me somewhere on here before as how this works, but to be honest I forget the reasoning.
 
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