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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > Too much acid- want to try MLF. Suggestions?
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:36 PM   #1
the possum
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Default Too much acid- want to try MLF. Suggestions?

Last year I tried making some Norton wine with grapes from a local vineyard. I think the grapes could have used some more time on the vine; they were only like 22* Brix (if I'm remembering my notes correctly). Fermentation went fine, and I racked a couple times, and let it bulk age for the past year in a carboy.

When I sampled it last year it seemed really tart, but being my first attempt at grape wine, I figured it would mellow out with age and de-gassing. I tried some recently, and man, it's still super tart. The first sip makes my jaws ache like one of those super sour candies.

I do not have any acid testing equipment, and honestly I'd rather not at this point.

So, I'm steering away from trying to neutralize some of the acids with lime or things of that nature. I'd really like a malolactic ferment anyway to add some complexity, since I have not used oak, either.

I bought a packet of Lalvin ML bacteria (this stuff: http://www.lalvinyeast.com/bacteria.asp ), but figured it wouldn't hurt to double check with you guys before using it. The instructions say to add it directly to the wine (no pre-hydrating) immediately after primary ferment. Mine was done fermenting many months ago. Will this really make any difference?

Since I've read this bacteria is not as tolerant of sulphite, I do not plan to rack the wine first (because I don't want to rack it without protecting it with a little fresh sulphite). I'll just pour it right into the carboy & let it go for a couple/several more months, then rack at that point before bottling.

Or at least that's the plan. I'm open to suggestions.

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Old 09-14-2010, 09:46 AM   #2
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One thing with MLF is that the pH should'nt be too low. If the pH is 3.2 or below you may have trouble getting the mlf to go. A brix of 22 isn't too bad, I don't know the cultivar norton. It is never too late to do a mlf, it is regularly done in wineries much later than straight after primary. Age should also help but if you have the culture then give it a go. I would rehydrate with water at 35C for 20 minutes.

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Old 09-14-2010, 02:50 PM   #3
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the possum,

You may have too much tartaric acid in your wine. The description of "super tart" is often used with this type of acid. Some also describe it as Sweettarts in comparison.

MLF will not correct for this as malobacter will only convert malic acid to lactic acid. You can try to cold stabilize your wine by chilling at 40*F for a few weeks to get bitartrate to precipitate out. Then rack off the precipitates before bringing it back to room temps.

MLF will add a "buttery" mouth feel and the lactic acid will be less sharp than malic.

My suggestion would be to chill a bottle if you already have it bottled for a few weeks. Gently poor the wine off of the precipitates and taste it. Hopefully this will correct the tartness.

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Old 09-14-2010, 04:19 PM   #4
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As luck would have it, I had 5 gallons in one carboy, and then 2 one gallon jugs. I bottled the one gallon jugs already, so I can try putting some of those in the fridge for a while & see if anything precipitates out. The 5 gallon jug may have to wait until the weather cools down though.

Now that you mention it, the last time I racked it, there was a sediment on the bottom that was more like a brittle/fragile "crust" type deposit rather than lees. I wonder...

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Old 09-14-2010, 05:40 PM   #5
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crystalline deposit you mentioned sounds like a mineral precipitate. putting one of the 1gal jugs in the fridge should help to increase the precipitation rate.

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Old 09-14-2010, 06:31 PM   #6
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I too have a grape wine that is very high on the acidity. I tested it with a TA kit, and it's about 10. This has only been in the secondary a few weeks, so I'm not sure how to adjust it, and when.

Sorry for the thread hijacking.

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