Malolactic fermintation.. time to innoculate?

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kyle6367

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Good Morning,
I have a question regarding when to add the bacteria for MLF. I am fermenting an Italian juice bucket of Chianti that is now sitting at a SG of 1.010. I have a pack of Wyeast 4007 Malo Lactic Blend which I plan on adding soon. I have read conflicting things as to when to add the culture. Since primary is coming to a close I was thinking about racking into a carboy, adding the culture, and letting it finish up primary/go through MLF over the next few months. The directions say fermintation is generally done between 1-3 months which would line up nicely with my next rack for bulk aging. I would add some K meta at that point and let it sit for another few months before bottling.

One of the issues is I really don't have alot of equipment to test the must and see where I am at with pH or other parameters. This is my first attempt at putting a wine through MLF so I'm still working on getting some basic equipment. I would ideally have some numbers to supply you guys, but it's a work in progress. Any other advice or suggestions would be great. Thanks!
 

Boatboy24

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I think your plan is a good one. Sooner rather than later, you should invest in a chromatography kit so you can confirm/deny the completion of MLF before adding sulfite. Otherwise, you risk MLF in the bottle, which may cause corks to pop - sometimes with great force.
 

cmason1957

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There are many different opinions as to the proper time to add MLB. All of them are right. I think I would adder it now. Chromatography is the preferred method of determining mlb completion, however I use the malic acid test strips. Just so I can tell mlf is done. I don't think you can use the test strips to say, I have x amount of malic acid, other than none.
 

gabe

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I always add the MLF culture where you are at now, 1.010/1.000. I also feed it with a malolactic nutritient. DO NOT add any metabisulphite until it has finished.
Gabe
 

gabe

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You could monitor the MLF by using a flashlight against your carboy. You should see tiny bubbles rising to the top.
Gabe
 

wineview

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I think your plan is a good one. Sooner rather than later, you should invest in a chromatography kit so you can confirm/deny the completion of MLF before adding sulfite. Otherwise, you risk MLF in the bottle, which may cause corks to pop - sometimes with great force.
If I don't have a chromatography kit, can I assume that MLF will be finished in three months or so and then safely add sulfite?
 

wineview

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I think your plan is a good one. Sooner rather than later, you should invest in a chromatography kit so you can confirm/deny the completion of MLF before adding sulfite. Otherwise, you risk MLF in the bottle, which may cause corks to pop - sometimes with great force.
If you are not 100% sure MLF is complete, wouldn't the addition of Potassium Sorbate prevent MLF in the bottle and exploding corks?
 

cmason1957

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If you are not 100% sure MLF is complete, wouldn't the addition of Potassium Sorbate prevent MLF in the bottle and exploding corks?
I hope that was a mis-type, Potassium Sorbate should not be added to a wine that went through MLF. Potassium Metabisulphite, yes. But even with adding that, since it will become bound up, there is a chance. To ensure you need to add something like lysozome to deactivate the Malolactic Bacteria and ensure it doesn't kick back up at a later date, if in doubt about the completion of MLF.
 

wineview

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I hope that was a mis-type, Potassium Sorbate should not be added to a wine that went through MLF. Potassium Metabisulphite, yes. But even with adding that, since it will become bound up, there is a chance. To ensure you need to add something like lysozome to deactivate the Malolactic Bacteria and ensure it doesn't kick back up at a later date, if in doubt about the completion of MLF.
Potassium Metabisulphite.
 

Snafflebit

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I have started MLF both at pre-ferment and post-ferment, and both methods have worked fine. If you have an especially low-pH wine, pre-ferment innoculation is better.
If you have enough time to age the wine in bulk (i.e. over 1 year) and have extended temperatures above 60F, the malolactic fermentation will happen with enough certainty that you should feel relatively confident bottling without chromatography. Of course, you are taking a chance by not performing the test.
 

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You could monitor the MLF by using a flashlight against your carboy. You should see tiny bubbles rising to the top.
Gabe
Would the airlock show activity or are there minimal amounts that would not show up in the bubbler
 

kyle6367

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Thanks for the replies! I racked into the carboy yesterday and started the MLF. I plan on bulk again for at least 6-9 months, and will monitor those bubbles in the mean time. Hopefully between now and then I'll get a testing kit and have some peace of mind when bottling.

I'll add some K meta after MLF is over and again before bottling to prevent any explosions.
 

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Thanks for the replies! I racked into the carboy yesterday and started the MLF. I plan on bulk again for at least 6-9 months, and will monitor those bubbles in the mean time. Hopefully between now and then I'll get a testing kit and have some peace of mind when bottling.

I'll add some K meta after MLF is over and again before bottling to prevent any explosions.
What temperature will you be keeping during MLF?
 

Mario Dinis

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This is where I buy my test kit from, they're pretty good.

 

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Bought some Malo bacteria and an ice pack through the mail. When it arrived the ice pack was 66*. Do you think this vial is still viable?
 

Boatboy24

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Bought some Malo bacteria and an ice pack through the mail. When it arrived the ice pack was 66*. Do you think this vial is still viable?
I think you're fine. Where are you located and where did the shipment originate?
 

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