Time to press or inoculate?

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

Joined
Dec 4, 2021
Messages
385
Reaction score
553
Forum, I need some help as I am in the middle of using my first frozen must pail (Cab Franc, I have always just made kits in the past)and I am getting conflicting timing information on when to inoculate with the MLF. Wine grapes direct who sells the must say’s to ferment to dry, then press ,then inoculate in the carboy under airlock. However the bacteria I bought (WLP675 liquid yeast) says to inoculate when SG is 1.02 (5 brix) which would be prior to pressing. If the Mlf can take up to 2 months to complete, when should I press? I want to get it into a carboy under airlock asap to protect it from O2 since it won’t be getting its does of K Meta until after Mlf is done. Any pointers from those of you with experience using frozen must or this strain of bacteria?
 

Johnd

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
6,992
Reaction score
7,542
Location
South Louisiana
There's no "right" time to inoculate with MLB, though traditionally it has been done as you suggest, after AF is complete and the wine is under airlock. In my winemaking time over the last 7 or 8 years, I have been adding my MLB just after the start of AF, with great success, so I am a fan of that timing. Why? MLB effectiveness is governed primarily by four factors, nutrition, temperature, pH, and ABV %. If any one of these is out of the acceptable range for your particular MLB, it may cause issues, if any two are out of range, failure becomes more likely.

Understanding that we can control pH with additions, and nutrition with MLB nutrients, the other two factors are the only ones left in the equation. Inoculating early in AF allows your bacteria to become established in and environment that is virtually free of alcohol, and adapt to the increasing ABV slowly, and the temperatures created by AF are typically higher and conducive to good MLB health. Addtionally, red wine musts that still have pulp, and skins in the mix, increase the available nutrients for your MLB. These are the reasons I like to add the MLB early, and why I believe it to be so successful.

Dropping MLB directly into a wine with no skins or pulp, and with an ABV that is at or in excess to its ABV tolerance creates a stressful situation from the start, so if you wait until AF is completely finished, and your ABV is 14%, and your MLB strain has a tolerance of 14%, you're on the edge to begin with. My advice to you at this particular point in time is that you add your MLB sooner rather than later, and make sure your pH is in the good range, and you have enough nutrients on board, particularly since you're using a juice bucket, maintain temps in the mid 70's, and let your MLB get used to the ABV as it increases.

As for the WLP675, I've never used it and have seen lots of folks have issues getting it to start and complete MLF, so read about its requirements and do everything you can to give it a favorable environment to succeed.
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2021
Messages
385
Reaction score
553
@Johnd thank you for the advice. So my question would be if I were to add the MLB now but say that the AF completes well before the MLF does, can you still press the wine and put it into a carboy under airlock and allow the MLF process to continue? Or will the pressing interrupt the MLF process?
 
Last edited:

sour_grapes

Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers
Joined
Sep 19, 2013
Messages
13,611
Reaction score
15,326
Location
near Milwaukee
@Johnd thank you for the advice. So my question would be if I were to add the MLB now but say that the AF completes well before the MLF does, can you still press the wine and put it into a carboy under airlock and allow the MLF process to continue? Or will the pressing interrupt the MLF process?

Pressing does not impede the MLF. You can let it finish up in the carboy.
 

NorCal

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
Joined
Apr 18, 2014
Messages
3,691
Reaction score
4,966
Location
Sierra Foothills, Nor Cal
There's no "right" time to inoculate with MLB, though traditionally it has been done as you suggest, after AF is complete and the wine is under airlock. In my winemaking time over the last 7 or 8 years, I have been adding my MLB just after the start of AF, with great success, so I am a fan of that timing. Why? MLB effectiveness is governed primarily by four factors, nutrition, temperature, pH, and ABV %. If any one of these is out of the acceptable range for your particular MLB, it may cause issues, if any two are out of range, failure becomes more likely.

Understanding that we can control pH with additions, and nutrition with MLB nutrients, the other two factors are the only ones left in the equation. Inoculating early in AF allows your bacteria to become established in and environment that is virtually free of alcohol, and adapt to the increasing ABV slowly, and the temperatures created by AF are typically higher and conducive to good MLB health. Addtionally, red wine musts that still have pulp, and skins in the mix, increase the available nutrients for your MLB. These are the reasons I like to add the MLB early, and why I believe it to be so successful.

Dropping MLB directly into a wine with no skins or pulp, and with an ABV that is at or in excess to its ABV tolerance creates a stressful situation from the start, so if you wait until AF is completely finished, and your ABV is 14%, and your MLB strain has a tolerance of 14%, you're on the edge to begin with. My advice to you at this particular point in time is that you add your MLB sooner rather than later, and make sure your pH is in the good range, and you have enough nutrients on board, particularly since you're using a juice bucket, maintain temps in the mid 70's, and let your MLB get used to the ABV as it increases.

As for the WLP675, I've never used it and have seen lots of folks have issues getting it to start and complete MLF, so read about its requirements and do everything you can to give it a favorable environment to succeed.
Great response!
 

Latest posts

Top