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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: Jayborracho on May 28, 2021, 03:18:06 am

Title: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: Jayborracho on May 28, 2021, 03:18:06 am
Hey all, quick question, I do 3 gallon batches
(No sparge) Have always used acidulated malt but wanna switch to phosphoric acid 10%, beersmith tells me I’d need between 10-15 ml of it to get down to 5.4, is this too much acid? How much acid will it take before you start tasting it in very pale beers?
Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: ynotbrusum on May 28, 2021, 04:24:58 am
I have used that much without flavor issues.  As I understand it, phosphoric acid is pretty tasteless, unlike lactic acid.
Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: Big_Eight on May 28, 2021, 04:36:23 am
I've used up to 25ml no issues.
Title: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: BrewBama on May 28, 2021, 05:34:05 am
10-15, ...25 ml. Wow   I use far, far less.

I think the most acid I’ve ever used is 5 ml lactic. Now, I use 1 ml phosphoric if I use any. (Apples vs Oranges I know — 10-25 phosphoric just seems like a lot to me)
Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: goose on May 28, 2021, 07:21:42 am
If your build your water profile for the beer style you are brewing, you should not have to add any acid to get the pH of the mash in the right range.  I build my profiles using RO water and calculate mineral additions using Martin's Bru'n Water calculator, and always hit the target mash pH.
Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: erockrph on May 28, 2021, 07:47:27 am
10-15, ...25 ml. Wow   I use far, far less.

I think the most acid I’ve ever used is 5 ml lactic. Now, I use 1 ml phosphoric if I use any. (Apples vs Oranges I know — 10-25 phosphoric just seems like a lot to me)
The Lactic we use is typically 88%, but Phosphoric is only 10%. That's primarily why there is such a volume discrepancy between the two.
Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: BrewBama on May 28, 2021, 08:14:24 am
10-15, ...25 ml. Wow   I use far, far less.

I think the most acid I’ve ever used is 5 ml lactic. Now, I use 1 ml phosphoric if I use any. (Apples vs Oranges I know — 10-25 phosphoric just seems like a lot to me)
The Lactic we use is typically 88%, but Phosphoric is only 10%. That's primarily why there is such a volume discrepancy between the two.
I agree — apples to oranges — that just seems like a lot to me.

I agree with this:

If your build your water profile for the beer style you are brewing, you should not have to add any acid to get the pH of the mash in the right range.  I build my profiles using RO water and calculate mineral additions using Martin's Bru'n Water calculator, and always hit the target mash pH.

...but it can even get easier than that in my opinion.  I add 1/8 tsp (~1 ml) 10% phosphoric acid to 9 gal distilled to create total brewhaus liquor.

5 gal brewhaus liquor for the mash using only the grain that require mashing along with 1 tsp CaCl gets me 5.3 -/+ .1 mash pH.

The grain that is not required to be mashed is added at mash out (15 min hot steep). 

Remaining 4 gal brewhaus liquor for sparge (additional 15 min hot steep).

All other salts for style/flavor/balance/etc are added to the boil kettle.

No gram scale no spreadsheet.  EZ PZ



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Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: denny on May 28, 2021, 08:35:12 am
A great method if you like the way adding grain late turns out.  I find that I almost never do.
Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: ynotbrusum on May 28, 2021, 08:41:44 am
Gordon Strong used 1/4 teaspoon of 10% Phosphoric to acidify his 5 gallons of strike water in his Pale Ale recipe back 10 years ago, or so.  I choose to mineralize and use acid malt, typically, for hitting my pH targets anymore, but I have made a Helles with RO and used a fairly high phosphoric content in lieu of minerals or lactic acid.  I am pretty sure it was 10-15 ml... that was long ago when I was younger and brewing much more radically without specific reasons for doing things other than "let's see what happens when....."  Now I brew with differing grain, adjunct or yeast as variable ingredients to see what happens and leave my water additions as the most static input for my pale beers.
Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: Silver_Is_Money on May 28, 2021, 09:09:29 am
The amount of acid required to be added is predicated upon several things:

1)  The ppm of Alkalinity (measured "as CaCO3") in the mash (and separately, sparge) water
2)  Volume of mash water and volume of sparge water
3)  The inherent acidic or basic* nature (*with basic here meaning "basic with respect to the desired mash target") of each of the recipes grist components.
4)  The weight of each of the recipes grist components
5)  How much mineralization (as ppm Ca and Mg) is present within the mash water
6)  The relative* strength of the chosen acid (*relative to the target mash pH)
7)  The chosen target for mash pH

For specifically a mash pH target of 5.40, 8.5 mL of 10% Phosphoric Acid has essentially the same acid content as for 1 Oz. of typical Acid Malt.
Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: ttash on May 28, 2021, 10:21:14 am
It depends on the type of pale malt that you're using. European pale malts, i.e. German pils, require more acid or acid malt than American pale malts, in my experience.

I have extremely low mineral content in my well water. I build my profile with the help of BrunWater, and when I mash a pale grist using German pils malt it's not unusual to add 10-12 ml of 10% phosphoric acid to hit my pH (in a 3 gal. batch). When using American pale malt, I don't need to add any acid. BrunWater doesn't allow for any differentiation between pale malts based on region or source.
Title: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: BrewBama on May 28, 2021, 10:33:50 am
A great method if you like the way adding grain late turns out.  I find that I almost never do.
no different than using steeping grains with extract batches I used to brew. I have found I have to add ~ an oz more steeping grains to get the same flavor beer.

Some brewers have used shorter (20-30 min) mashes as outlined in Simple Homebrewing so this wouldn’t be much different as far as steeping grain’s exposure to hot liquor than that.



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Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: Village Taphouse on May 28, 2021, 10:47:09 am
For some, the concept of "building the water" is trickier and some brewers don't want to buy all of that distilled or RO water.  Of course, some brewers HAVE to do this because their source water has enough issues that there is just no way to doctor it that much.  BrewBama, by starting with distilled or RO, 15-25ml of acid would absolutely sound like too much to you.  I have always used lactic acid and for me, about 4ml in the mash and about 1ml in the sparge is generally good and I need that amount because my otherwise-modest water numbers still contain 140ppm of bicarb.  As for Jay's OP... if a piece of software tells you how much to add then it should get you in the zip code and it would depend on the acid you choose.  I have never used phosphoric but I have always heard that it is "flavor-neutral".  For lactic acid, I had seen a rule-of-thumb that you should not go more than 1ml per gallon of water used in the batch because you will have a flavor impact.  I think that if you dialed it in just right, you could actually get a beneficial *acid snap* from the lactic acid that might make a beer more refreshing.  As with anything else, the best situation is for each brewer to experiment and determine what all of these steps do for YOU and your tastebuds. 
Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: Cliffs on May 28, 2021, 11:00:20 am
If your build your water profile for the beer style you are brewing, you should not have to add any acid to get the pH of the mash in the right range.  I build my profiles using RO water and calculate mineral additions using Martin's Bru'n Water calculator, and always hit the target mash pH.

this has not been my experience. I add CaCl and CASO4 to get my chlorides and sulfates where I want them, and then use either an acid of alkaline to get my ph correct.
Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: denny on May 28, 2021, 11:10:50 am
A great method if you like the way adding grain late turns out.  I find that I almost never do.
no different than using steeping grains with extract batches I used to brew. I have found I have to add ~ an oz more steeping grains to get the same flavor beer.

Some brewers have used shorter (20-30 min) mashes as outlined in Simple Homebrewing so this wouldn’t be much different as far as steeping grain’s exposure to hot liquor than that.



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In my experience, it is very different, especially for darker grains.  Not saying it isn't a valid method, it's just not for me.
Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: denny on May 28, 2021, 11:11:41 am
If your build your water profile for the beer style you are brewing, you should not have to add any acid to get the pH of the mash in the right range.  I build my profiles using RO water and calculate mineral additions using Martin's Bru'n Water calculator, and always hit the target mash pH.

this has not been my experience. I add CaCl and CASO4 to get my chlorides and sulfates where I want them, and then use either an acid of alkaline to get my ph correct.

Agreed.
Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: BrewBama on May 28, 2021, 11:15:20 am
... As with anything else, the best situation is for each brewer to experiment and determine what all of these steps do for YOU and your tastebuds.





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Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: Big_Eight on May 28, 2021, 11:46:48 am
10-15, ...25 ml. Wow   I use far, far less.

I think the most acid I’ve ever used is 5 ml lactic. Now, I use 1 ml phosphoric if I use any. (Apples vs Oranges I know — 10-25 phosphoric just seems like a lot to me)
We are talking about 10% here not 88%. I usually use between 10-15ml normally.

Edit: Didn't see your other post below.
Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: BrewBama on May 28, 2021, 12:52:01 pm
10-15, ...25 ml. Wow   I use far, far less.

I think the most acid I’ve ever used is 5 ml lactic. Now, I use 1 ml phosphoric if I use any. (Apples vs Oranges I know — 10-25 phosphoric just seems like a lot to me)
We are talking about 10% here not 88%. I usually use between 10-15ml normally.

Edit: Didn't see your other post below.
I know. That’s why I said it was apples vs oranges. I’ve never used that much of any strength acid so it seems like a lot to me. What can I say? 



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Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: Big_Eight on May 28, 2021, 03:53:40 pm
10-15, ...25 ml. Wow   I use far, far less.

I think the most acid I’ve ever used is 5 ml lactic. Now, I use 1 ml phosphoric if I use any. (Apples vs Oranges I know — 10-25 phosphoric just seems like a lot to me)
We are talking about 10% here not 88%. I usually use between 10-15ml normally.

Edit: Didn't see your other post below.
I know. That’s why I said it was apples vs oranges. I’ve never used that much of any strength acid so it seems like a lot to me. What can I say? 



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Just for clarification adding 1.7ml of Phosphoric Acid at 88% is equivalent to adding 25ml of Phosphoric Acid at 10% as either will adjust the pH the same amount.
Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: mabrungard on May 28, 2021, 07:23:51 pm
(No sparge) Have always used acidulated malt but wanna switch to phosphoric acid 10%, beersmith tells me I’d need between 10-15 ml of it to get down to 5.4, is this too much acid? How much acid will it take before you start tasting it in very pale beers?

Don't worry about the seemingly large volume of acid being recommended.  That 10% phosphoric is mostly water and that's the reason why you need to add what seems to be 'a lot'.  I'm not sure if the acid calculations in Beersmith have been refined, but I do recommend that you double-check the acid additions with another brewing calculator to confirm that 10% phosphoric addition.  In any case, its unlikely that you'd 'taste' that acid since its one of the most neutral tasting options.
Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: Big_Eight on May 28, 2021, 07:49:53 pm
(No sparge) Have always used acidulated malt but wanna switch to phosphoric acid 10%, beersmith tells me I’d need between 10-15 ml of it to get down to 5.4, is this too much acid? How much acid will it take before you start tasting it in very pale beers?

Don't worry about the seemingly large volume of acid being recommended.  That 10% phosphoric is mostly water and that's the reason why you need to add what seems to be 'a lot'.  I'm not sure if the acid calculations in Beersmith have been refined, but I do recommend that you double-check the acid additions with another brewing calculator to confirm that 10% phosphoric addition.  In any case, its unlikely that you'd 'taste' that acid since its one of the most neutral tasting options.
Since Beer Smith added in the BW model it has been much better and pretty close to your spreadsheet. I use your sheet and Beersmith both to confirm. Thanks by the way your sheet is awesome.
Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: BrewBama on May 29, 2021, 05:57:13 am
...Since Beer Smith added in the BW model it has been much better and pretty close to your spreadsheet. ...

I agree. Night and Day to the other calc BS used before.



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Title: Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
Post by: goose on May 29, 2021, 07:06:21 am
... As with anything else, the best situation is for each brewer to experiment and determine what all of these steps do for YOU and your tastebuds.





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Totally agree!