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BMB
10-29-2010, 04:15 PM
I recently finished fermenting a plum melomel (6+ gal. batch with fruit in both primary and secondary, used 71B) and am seeking advice about whether or not to continue with a malolactic fermentation. I'm a relatively inexperienced brewer in general, and have zero experience with MLF. Also, that little sachet was almost ten bucks, so I don't just want to toss it in and see what happens without a little advice - thanks in advance! So:

1) Input as to whether this is a good idea at all? Advantages/disadvantages?

2) According to Lalvin's website, they seem to indicate the Bacchus is for up to 13.5% ABV and this melomel is easily over that (I couldn't measure the brix of the plums since I don't have a refractometer, but the honey must itself was mixed to an OG of 1.116 and the FG is at 1.006. The fermentation was closely monitored with proper nutrient additions, aeration, etc). So would a MLF even be possible in this scenario?

AToE
10-29-2010, 04:51 PM
Well, MLF is used to mellow out overly acidic wines that have high malic acid content. The first thing you'd want to do is taste it to decide if mellowing the acid is even desired (or maybe if backsweetening would work better). After that, you'll have to find out if plums even have enough malic acid for this to work. According to Oskaar, almost anything other than a pure grape juice must is unlikely to contain enough malic acid for MLF to be either necessary or effective.

AToE
10-29-2010, 04:55 PM
Also, just for future reference note that fruit additions to a must will actually decrease the SG, not increase it. Even though you are adding more sugar, you're also adding more water - and aside from extremely high sugar fruit like grapes, the juice from the fruit will generally have a lower SG than your must, as such the addition will dilute your must and you'll end up with a little lower SG.

This is why I personally have a process where I attempt to squeeze out all the juice (or most) then I mix up my must with that juice honey and water to the SG I want, then add the fruit solids back in, to be pressed again (or not) at the end of fermentation. This lets me be a little more accurate with my SG.

Medsen Fey
10-29-2010, 05:08 PM
Unless the mead tastes way too acidic, I wouldn't try MLF. Unless you used a massive amount of plums, you probably don't need to pursue it. Perhaps you can provide the details of the recipe and process used.

Your batch probably has around 14.5% ABV, perhaps a little lower if you used a lot of fruit. The bacteria might well be able to manage through that.

More importantly, this batch has a significant amount of residual sugar. Lactic acid bacteria with residual sugar tend to produce a lot of volatile acidity (like nail polish and vinegar odor). MLF is probably not a great idea, and sulfiting your must to prevent it from happening spontaneously may be worthwhile. However, if you decide to "take a chance" let us know how it turns out.

Medsen