Malolactic acid fermentation


#1

I’m wondering if folks here that make cider purposely do malolactic acid fermentations or not? Or if not purposely, do you let your fermentations go long enough for malic acid to ferment to latic acid?

I’ve got two ~3 gallon batches and both had been pretty much done or stuck with little to no activity but one start to very slowly ferment again about 2 weeks ago and the other just this week just went nuts and is fermenting quite quickly again.

They started fermenting in mid-Oct and I racked them to secondary on Thanksgiving or Black Friday.

Do you like MLF fermented ciders? Or do like you cider better without?


#2

I like them, but I expect many people do not. I have even inoculated with the culture to encourage MLF.

Your slow one sounds more like MLF, the quick one sound like the yeast fermentation re-started. The SG of the two might be able to help in figuring out what happened.


#3

They can work wonders on a cider with a heavy acid bite, rounding over the edge. I’ve had some that get a delightfully subtle caramel hint, some that are just smoother/more pleasant to drink. If they go too far, the cider can begin to feel/taste ‘flabby.’

I kept a cyser in a plastic fermenter with too much headspace this year. (Yes, I feel shame.) The malic was diminished and it was developing an oxidized effect… not so good. I had to add back some malic and chose to add a very slight amount of habanero tincture… just enough that at the end of a glass, there was a sense that there was some heat somewhere, but not enough to feel it while drinking it. I’ve also tasted a few that had massive ‘buttery popcorn’ overtones. They were bad…really bad. Fortunately, not mine.

The point of all that… good things can happen, but keep an eye (nose and tongue, actually) on it. If you hit a spot you really like or it starts to go south, stop the fermentation.


#4

Thanks @LTCider and @scottfsmith.

Do you use sulfite or lysozyme to stop malolactic acid fermentation? I don’t particularly like sulfite - I can’t drink most white wines that have been sulfited as I am too sensitive to the taste.


#5

I’ve never used lysozyme, just sulfite.