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MLF still possible?

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Buck9d

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For starters I'm a first time wine maker. I started with 80lbs of chambourcin grapes, crushed, stemmed yadda yadda. I sterilized the 8 gallons of must initially with 8 crushed campden tablets. After fermentation and press it yielded 6 gallons. Estimated 14ish% alcohol, 3.4-3.6 ph on small range test strips (looking into getting a meter). First racked off lees after 10 days in carboy, same ph, .995-.997 SG. At this point I wasn't planning on doing MLF, because I didnt know any better. Added 4 crushed campden tablets because being new to wine making I was overly concerned with spoilage. Now i've done enough research to realize that I want to run it through a MLF. Have I shot my chance of MLF by adding to much sulfite? How much sulfite is left from the initial sterilization after fermentation? Is there anything I can do to help reduce sulfite levels to a reasonable level to use VP41 MLB which boasts SO2 tolerance up to 60ppm and seems to be a favorable culture. Do I need to send a sample out to a lab to verify SO2 levels before proceeding?
 

wxtrendsguy

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Your initial dosage of SO2 is probably not an issue though a little high. One campden tablet is approximately 13 ppm of SO2, you added 8 after crush or closer to 100 ppm, typical additions at crush is to add 50 ppm. The first bit of good news is that most of that was bound up in fermentation or blown off. Now if I understand you correctly, you added 4 tablets post fermentation and I assume after pressing, thus your initial dosage post fermentation was 52ppm..now the good news of that 52 ppm addition it is likely that close to half of it has been bound up mostly by O2 and other contaminants in the wine. So at the moment your total SO2 = 52 ppm and your free so2 is close to 26 ppm. Both numbers are a little high for successful ML fermentation. But your plan to use VP41 is solid. Make sure you use a malic starter nutrient like Acti-Malic from More Wine or similar company when you rehydrate your bacteria, 24 hours after you have added your MB and starter to your carboy, make up a batch of Malic nutrient like Opti Malo plus and add that to the carboy. Get the temperature up to about 70F and keep it there. Gently stir your carboy 2 times per week for the first two weeks, then just let it be. If successful you should see small bubbles in the neck of the carboy in a few days...they are small so using a flashlight to backlight the neck makes it easier...good luck.
 

Buck9d

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I will do just that. Thank you for the good news and instruction. I was unsure how much SO2 would be lost throughout the fermentation process and how the additional amount would add up. Loads left to learn but more than happy at the moment that I haven't lost the opportunity to run it through MLF. Thanks again
 

Johnd

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I will do just that. Thank you for the good news and instruction. I was unsure how much SO2 would be lost throughout the fermentation process and how the additional amount would add up. Loads left to learn but more than happy at the moment that I haven't lost the opportunity to run it through MLF. Thanks again
SO2 doesn't really get "lost", it just becomes bound. Bound SO2 has a negative effect on MLF as well, and if you have enough bound SO2, regardless of your free SO2, this too can inhibit MLF. I've provided for you an excerpt from the Morewinemaking White Paper on MLF below. If you'd like to read more, go to there website and select the MLF White Paper from the bottom of the main page.

D) SO2 : Most winemakers know that a high “free” SO2 level can inhibit ML bacteria, and that if you want to carry out an MLF then you usually don’t sulfite the wine until after the fermentation has completed. However, it is crucial to realize that “bound” SO2 also has a negative affect on the bacteria. This is because while “bound” SO2 is 5 to 10 times less active than “free” SO2 , at high enough levels it too can hinder bacterial growth. So, if you want to do an MLF on a particular wine not only do you need to be aware of how much “free” SO2 is in the wine, you also need to keep tabs on the portion that is “bound” as well. These two portions combined are referred to as “total” SO2 and the following SO2 levels are recommended by Lallemand Malolactic Fermentation A MoreManual! ™ by Shea A.J. Comfort © Copyright 2011 MoreFlavor! Inc. © Copyright 2011 MoreFlavor! Inc. as being favourable MLF conditions: 0–10ppm “free”, and 0–30ppm “total”. Note that in general, if you crush and add a single 50ppm “total” SO2 addition up front, by the time the fermentation is over you will usually have around 20–25ppm as “total” and 0–10ppm as “free”. In other words, you should be well within the recommended ranges. (Keep in mind, however, that this amount will vary with different must compositions and fermentation temperatures).
 

mainshipfred

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It depends on the bacteria as well. VP41 is good for 50-60 ppm total while the strain I use MBR 31 is only good for up to 30 ppm. There are other factors such as ph, alcohol and temperature that has to be considered in making your selection as well. Oh and don't ever use White Labs 675, is sucks not even sure why wine places sell it.
 

Buck9d

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I understand conditions within are currently less than ideal, just hoping it can be done with the best conditions I can yet provide. I read somewhere that hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove a certain level of SO2. Is that only for flavor purposes or does it actually decrease sulfur levels?
 

mainshipfred

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I understand conditions within are currently less than ideal, just hoping it can be done with the best conditions I can yet provide. I read somewhere that hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove a certain level of SO2. Is that only for flavor purposes or does it actually decrease sulfur levels?
Below is an excerpt form an article and the entire article. I didn't know you could use peroxide and especially didn't know the lack of free SO2 could release it from the bound. I'm no chemist so I have no knowledge but found it interesting. Not sure I would try it. To answer your question I would say go for it and use the VP 41. I don't think I would be completely wrong in saying we've all had a bad experience with an MLF.

A. Hydrogen peroxide The removal of sulfur dioxide from wine using hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is an effective, and if performed carefully, safe procedure. The H2O2 reacts with the free SO2 in the wine, oxidising it to sulfate. After such removal, further free SO2 may be generated from the remaining bound fraction

https://www.awri.com.au/wp-content/uploads/TN06.pdf
 

wxtrendsguy

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One guaranteed way to get malolactic fermentation to commence is to bottle your wine....only problem is your wine will taste like crap. So don't do it.
 

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