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Bodenski

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I bought a 6 gallon South African juice bucket this year, and split it into two buckets. One bucket had a lug of grapes added, and the other didn't. I used the same yeast on both, Let them both go to dry and moved to secondary. I split a packet of MLF bacteria between the two.

That was about a week ago I think. The bucket that didn't have grapes the MLF is going great. The bucket that had the grapes isn't. I think I added two extra Campden tablets to the bucket with the skins, but the yeast wasn't impacted by it. (OK, it took an extra day or two to get going, but it finished up just fine.)

I didn't add any MLF nutrients to either carboy.

I guess at this point I have several options.

1. Take the two carboys and mix them together, so that the bacteria which is now going well in one will effect thew whole batch. CON: I was curious what impact the lug of grapes has. If I mix them then I won't know. Also, if something is in that batch keeping the MLF from taking off I might have two stalled buckets instead of one! (Alternate is to just pull a cup or two from the one that's going strong to the other one. See if that's enough to get it moving.)

2. Add nutrient and another packet of MLF to the carboy that didn't take off. Only con to this is that it's yet another trip to the store to pick this up, since I don't have any now. And there are no guarantees that this will be enough. I'll probably rack it before adding the MLF bacteria since some lees have dropped out.

3. Tell myself it's better luck next time and go ahead and sulfite the carboy where the MLF didn't go. Then I have two variables different between the two batches (skins w/o MLF, no skins with MLF) but that means I'll just have two different but still both hopefully good wines.

I'd appreciate any thoughts folks might have.
 

Ajmassa

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How do you know it's not moving along? By visual or are you testing? I also did mlf on 2 separate batches, one all grapes and one just juice with skins. There was only noticible activity on the juice batch, but when I tested they both had gone through MLF rather quickly. If you haven't tested don't be surprised that they both are going through a successful MLF.
I did feed along the way with opti-malo also.
I added no sulphites at all to either, and FWIW I tested So2 levels and both were near 50 free ppm. With NO additions from me. Maybe it was the extra tablets you added.
Also I learned that after racking off the gross lees from primary, you'll actually want to leave the light lees in there during the MLF. The malo works well with it stirred back up into suspension about twice a week.
It's an all Cab grape batch and a cab/merlot juice pale with the Cab skins. And I definitely feel ya on not wanting to blend just yet. I may blend them later, but I am looking forward to see how they develop and differ from each other similar to you.
 

Bodenski

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Reasonable question. I have a 3 piece airlock on both carboys. I have plastic carboys, and I pushed down on the top then let go. It draws the water up the cap, and it hasn't moved. so there's been no CO2 produced to push the water out of the cap piece. The other one is bubbling away.

Can I splash rack to decrease the sulfites then try again? Not sure if that will help or not.
 

Ajmassa

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It would free up some So2 for ya. Won't know how much there is or will be w/o testing tho. I was surprised how high my grapes So2 level was from Those sulphite protective pads.
But is that your only indication for lack of MLF? I had literally zero visual indications for MLF on the grapes. But I did see the tiny rising bubbles on the juice. But neither airlock was very active once they went to glass. I'm not sure what other types of visuals to look for aside from the tiny bubbles. I didn't know anything about increased CO2 airlock activity.
I did a paper chromatography test and to my surprise they both had been successful. Without testing you won't know anything for sure. But if I were a betting man I'd put my money on 2 separate successful MLF's given what happened with my "perceived MLF/actual MLF"
 

cmason1957

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Even a very, very vigorous Mlf probably won't produce enough CO2 to be noticeable in the airlock. I have done several and sometimes never see any evidence that it is working. A week is nothing for mlf. I seldom even bother to test until 2 months in. Testing is the only way to know if something is happening.
 

Johny99

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If it is SO2, and it could be, then I don't see the harm in just waiting it out. The grapes may have come with SO2. Anyway, as said above, testing is the sure way to see. You could splash rack if it is a red, but i wouldn't with a white. Time will dissipate the SO2 and then you can inoculate with a cup of wine from the other carboy. I suggest just being patient with the goal of being able to do the comparison you set out to.
 

zadvocate

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Advice I got from someone else. "
Pressing it and racking it off the gross lees would have introduced a lot of o2 , this might stun the mlb slowing it down .
With the carboys under airlock , put them in a warm place , if you have some mlf nutrient add it and stir it in and the fine lees into suspension .
Keeping them in a warm spot and stir up the fine lees very gently once every ten days for the next 4-6 weeks . Test after a month .
If it's complete , then add your kmeta .
 
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