MLF Question

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Birdman

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So I am doing a couple batches of wine from Chilean grapes. Pinot Noir and Malbec. At about 3 brix, I pressed and continued fermentation to dryness in carboys. Racked off the lees and added the MLF bacteria. Temp is 73 degrees. There is no action after 3 days. No bubbles, nothing. Thoughts?

Thanks

Jonathan
 

grapeman

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What is your free S02 level? If you added k-meta after ferment, it will inhibit their growth. It also takes a few days just for it to start to multiply. Bubbles should start soon and are tiny bubbles floating up the sides of the carboy. Don't expect it to look like a yeast fermentation.
 

ffemt128

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My Chianti and Cab Franc are undergoing mlf now. I pitched the bacteria on May 25 and I agree with what was stated, it is nothing like regular fermentation. Very small bubbles at a slow rate. I know it's progressing as I checked the levels and they are about half where they started.
 

Wade E

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I too agree that its sometimes hard to even know if MLF is occurring, very little airlock action at all, just little tiny bubbles rising up the sides of the carboy and this can also take a long time to finish like 2-3 months sometimes.
 

Tom

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Sometimes the only way is to see if there is pressure in the airlock.
 

Birdman

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There is absolutely no action in terms of bubbles in mine, not even micro bubbles. I am having a hard time maintaining faith that anything is happening. To answer grapeman, no I didn't add sulfite as I assumed that would kill the MLF bacteria. So I'm concerned that my wines are sitting here spoiling instead of going through MLF. I have only done one batch with MLF before this, and the bubbles were small but obvious in the neck of the carboy. I got nothing.

So do I just be patient, or pitch more MLF bacteria? I called the wine making store where I got the grapes (in Woburn, MA, online at www.beer-wine.com) and the expert over there told me to chill out and wait, it's probably fine. But there are no bubbles at ALL. I'm using a flashlight and looking really hard. A 6 gallon carboy has a pretty small neck compared to it's volume....if there were bubbles, I would be able to see them.

Thanks all

Jonathan
 
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Rock

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Birdman did you try using any nutrient for your mlf bacteria?I agree with you, that you would see some sort of tiny bubbles.I would not freak out and start thinking your wine is sitting there spoiling.It took 2 weeks before we say any sign of mlf.
 

grapeman

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Besides ensuring that the wine is above 75 degrees, giving it a gentle stir a couple times a day will also help get it going. Dont't worry about the wine spoiling in this short time. Remember it is full of alcohol. It is fairly normal to take a week or two to begin to see bubbles. I also feed my malo a nutrient made specifically for these bacteria.
 

Tom

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Besides ensuring that the wine is above 75 degrees, giving it a gentle stir a couple times a day will also help get it going. Dont't worry about the wine spoiling in this short time. Remember it is full of alcohol. It is fairly normal to take a week or two to begin to see bubbles. I also feed my malo a nutrient made specifically for these bacteria.
And what would that be?
 

Rock

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I dont know what grapeman uses but i use optimalo plus.
 

Birdman

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Hey Gang,
Thanks for the advice. I'm 6 days into it and I am pretty sure I am getting a few tiny bubbles. They form a little ring in the neck. I'm not seeing actual bubbling of the wine, but definitely what looks like some fizzy bubbles.

I'm curious about food for the MLF bacteria, because the directions on the Lalvin MLF packet didn't mention anything about that. (It just said "add to the wine" and mentioned a temperature range.) Isn't the Malic acid the "food" for the bacteria and if there is malic acid in there, the bacteria should be happy?

Jonathan
 

Wade E

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Just like fermenting sugar nutrient is always advised, there is [plenty of sugar in most recipes for yeast but that just sometimes isnt enough to make the culture happy. These are living things and they need proper nutrients to thrive and complete their job so taking every step to ensure that increases your probability 3 fold. It doesnt state to use nutrient or energizer on a wine yeast packet but I strongly advise you to do so. What you are seeing with the very tiny bubbles is generally all youll see with a MLF fermentation so all sounds good, like I said earlier its a very relaxed fermentation and if not looking for this very minute action youyd never know it was there. There arent many othr wines besides red grapes that this is needed or even welcomed so dont go doing this on all your wines. Other wines that can benefit from this are Chardonnay, sometimes Blackberry, and possibly apple but have never tried that one as I like my apple wine tart and MLF will smooth out that malic acid.
 

grapeman

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Optimalo Plus is the nutrient I use also. The problem is that it comes in fairly large quantity like a pound package and you only use about a tablespoon per gallon if I remember right without looking it up. It really does seem to get the little critters eating faster and happier.
 

carmine

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Optimalo Plus is the nutrient I use also. The problem is that it comes in fairly large quantity like a pound package and you only use about a tablespoon per gallon if I remember right without looking it up. It really does seem to get the little critters eating faster and happier.
I use optimalo plus also I vaccum seal my bag of optomalo . I don't remember if there an experation date on bag . But most of these packages i was told will last up to 2 years in a dry place
carmine
 

Rock

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Hey Gang,
Thanks for the advice. I'm 6 days into it and I am pretty sure I am getting a few tiny bubbles. They form a little ring in the neck. I'm not seeing actual bubbling of the wine, but definitely what looks like some fizzy bubbles.

I'm curious about food for the MLF bacteria, because the directions on the Lalvin MLF packet didn't mention anything about that. (It just said "add to the wine" and mentioned a temperature range.) Isn't the Malic acid the "food" for the bacteria and if there is malic acid in there, the bacteria should be happy?

Jonathan
No what i have read is that the lees are the food for the mlf.and to use nutrient if ml is slow or you racked your wine.
 

JohnT

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The best way to tell how your MLF is progressing is through the use of ML Chromatography. There are kits available.
 

Rock

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Yea John thats what i do our chilean is almost done .How about you did you make any chilean wine?
 

JohnT

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Yea John thats what i do our chilean is almost done .How about you did you make any chilean wine?
Glad you asked.

We made a blend of carmener and cabernet (approx 165 liters). We crushed them three weeks ago, and pressed them two weeks ago.

After we curshed the grapes, my supplier called me with the news... The price of grapes just dropped by $10/lug. Could NOT pass that up, we crushed another 180 liters.

I was informed about HydrogenSulfide problems. I am keeping a close eye on it and will also do my first racking after 2 weeks of age. Also, I was impressed by the COLOR!!!.


Another MLF Question: I remember hearing that (back in the day) ML bacteria was carried from one vintage to the next via the wodden barrels. From what I can gather, MLB strains like to exist in wood. Have any of you heard of this? Is it true? do you think it a good idea to add oak (cubes) to the wine when innoculating with MLB
 

Rock

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I dont think it would hurt to add the oak cubes but dont you rack after it is done mlf then put your wine into your demis or bulk aging containers?Thats when i would add the oak cubes.We Ml our wines before they get put into their oak barrels.But i have read about using oak like a spiral into a wine while its going through mlf.Frezzing the spiral after the wine was done then using the spiral over and over to induce mlf.Without using any malolactic bacteria because the spiral has the bacteria.Sounds like a money saver. :D
 

carmine

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Glad you asked.

We made a blend of carmener and cabernet (approx 165 liters). We crushed them three weeks ago, and pressed them two weeks ago.

After we curshed the grapes, my supplier called me with the news... The price of grapes just dropped by $10/lug. Could NOT pass that up, we crushed another 180 liters.

I was informed about HydrogenSulfide problems. I am keeping a close eye on it and will also do my first racking after 2 weeks of age. Also, I was impressed by the COLOR!!!.


Another MLF Question: I remember hearing that (back in the day) ML bacteria was carried from one vintage to the next via the wodden barrels. From what I can gather, MLB strains like to exist in wood. Have any of you heard of this? Is it true? do you think it a good idea to add oak (cubes) to the wine when innoculating with MLB
I've heard about it that wine makers mlf in the barell . the bacteria gets into the wood once you mlf in the barell you need to mlf all your wines in that barell . I would still use mlf bacteria if i were to use the barell idea to make sure that it would take off
carmine
 

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