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Messages - Kaiser

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Ingredients / Lactate Taste Threshold Experiment
« on: March 11, 2013, 03:41:41 PM »
Last weekend I did a yeast handling presentation to Brew Free Or Die club members and I took the opportunity to conduct a lactate taste threshold experiment with 8 club members. While it had little to do with the topic of the technical session it is a subject where I wanted to do some experimentation for quite some time.

Acidulated malt and 88% lactic acid are very popular acids for mash pH correction but since lactic acid has a rather distinct taste the question that is on many brewer’s minds is: “How much lactic acid is too much“.

Since in most cases lactic acid is only added to counteract water alkalinity and bring the mash pH into the desirable range of 5.3-5.5 it can be assumed that the added lactic acid will not lead to a lower than normal beer pH. In other words, we don’t have to worry about beers that taste sour.  But we do have to worry about the characteristic taste of lactate. Lactate is what’s left when lactic acid gives up its proton to neutralize a base or contribute to pH changes.

The experiment was designed such that the acidity of the lactic acid was neutralized with slaked lime. While that also adds calcium in addition to the lactate it matches brewing reality where highly alkaline waters oftentimes come with high calcium levels. I had the choice between calcium (from slaked lime) or sodium (from sodium hydroxide).  Both calcium lactate and sodium lactate tasted very similar in water which shows that sodium doesn’t necessarily lead to a salty taste. I decided to go with calcium lactate since calcium is generally the dominant cation in alkaline waters.

I was very surprised to see how many of the tasters struggled with identifying the flavor in the 4 sets of samples they were given (water, Bud Light, Budweiser and Sierra Nevada Torpedo Ale). Even levels as high 1200 mg/l, which amounts to a whopping 23% acidulated malt, were not correctly identified by some tasters.  Below is a link to a more formal write-up of the experiment and those interested can go ahead and check my numbers.

Here is a chart that shows for each taster the highest lactate level that was identified as tasting like the control:

After having done this experiment and having tasted samples with added lactate myself I think that a safe upper limit of 400 mg/l lactate or 7% acidulated malt is reasonable with the assumption that the mash and beer pH are at acceptable levels. While 7% is higher than the 5% that is currently seen as the safe upper limit for acidulated malt use it should be noted that there might be other benefits to  reducing the amount of minerals in a given water before acidulated malt is used to neutralize the remaining alkalinity.

A formal write-up of the experiment can be found on the wiki: Lactate Taste Threshold Experiment

Equipment and Software / Re: promash vs beersmith vs others
« on: March 07, 2013, 04:24:23 PM »
I realize that I'm likely in the minority, but "online" kills it for me.  I have no internet access in the "brewery", and spotty access a lot of the time.  Ah, the joys of living away from civilization!

I hear you. I'm not a big fan of the cloud either but I do appreciate its aspect of mobility. I moved away from recipe calculators to only paper b/c I didn't want to lug a laptop to my brewing area. Now I'm moving back to these tools b/c I can simply use my phone.

You could install a stronger WIFI our use Ethernet over power line to solve the internet access issue. But keeping all the stuff on the laptop also works.


Equipment and Software / Re: promash vs beersmith vs others
« on: March 06, 2013, 11:19:03 PM »
An option for having encoded links for recipes is also on the works. That way you don't need to make a recipe public but are still able to share out with others.

There are a lot of neat things that can be done with an online recipe editor.


Equipment and Software / Re: promash vs beersmith vs others
« on: March 06, 2013, 09:39:06 PM »
i run into other brewers and it is kind of nice to pull up a picture, recipe, batch etc right away.

I use Brewer's Friend and it added a label generation option that includes a QR code to the on-line recipe (only for public recipes). Pretty neat for club meetings:

All Grain Brewing / Re: calcium carry over to kettle question
« on: March 06, 2013, 08:12:01 PM »
One source of Ca loss is very easily quantified. That is the Ca that reacts with malt phosphates to release H+ and lower mash pH. Kolbach found that about 28% (1/3.5) are lost that way. So when you start out with 85 ppm you’ll have about 60 ppm left after that reaction. That’s pretty close to the number’s Martin found. There might be other losses that are not as easily quantified but they appear to be less.


All Grain Brewing / Re: calcium carry over to kettle question
« on: March 06, 2013, 03:36:35 AM »
I wouldn't worry much about it. The calcium recommendations for water already take that into account.

Kai I don't understand this statement.
I have been using Brun Water for calculations.
I don't see where calcium carry over loss is accounted for in this, or any other water program.
Seems like I am coming up short on kettle calcium without a kettle addition.

What I mean is that when we recommend a certain Ca level in the brewing water it assumes that there will be Ca losses in the mash and boil and that the Ca level of the final beer will be lower. This is not anything the brewing calculators account for. All they care about is the mineral level in the brewing water.

That's what I mean with not worrying about it.


Beer Recipes / Re: Munich Dunkel Help Needed
« on: March 06, 2013, 03:31:01 AM »
A Schwarzbier has less of the deep malt character than a Dunkel and I get this by using less Munich and more Pilsner malt. The Roasted grains get you most of the color. I thought of it based on what you have available.


All Grain Brewing / Re: Next Step-Water
« on: March 05, 2013, 11:41:34 PM »
For your dark beers you may want to try bumping the calcium and chloride with calcium chloride. shoot for a Ca level of 100 ppm, for example. Calcium is known to suppress astringency.

Beer Recipes / Re: Munich Dunkel Help Needed
« on: March 05, 2013, 11:36:32 PM »
With the available malts you could aim for a Schwarzbier. I agree that the wheat is your best option when you don't have Carafa Special.


Beer Recipes / Re: Munich Dunkel Help Needed
« on: March 05, 2013, 03:43:13 PM »
I'd add more Munich. Maybe 90/10 Munich/Pils. Is the Midnight Wheat the only roasted grain you have?


All Grain Brewing / Re: calcium carry over to kettle question
« on: March 05, 2013, 01:40:19 PM »
Most of that lost calcium is from  reactions with the malt's phosphate. I wouldn't worry much about it. The calcium recommendations for water already take that into account.


All Grain Brewing / Re: hochkurz mash
« on: March 04, 2013, 05:13:43 PM »
There are 2 parts that are beneficial for efficiency:

(1) - boiling the grain
(2) - higher temperature mash rest

I commonly let the high temperature rest (~72 C) sit or 30-60 min.


All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Chemistry
« on: March 04, 2013, 04:25:08 PM »
I think using baking soda to raise mash pH is fine. In the past I have gotten push-back on that idea since brewers seem to be afraid of sodium. But its nice to see that others are also coming to the conclusion that unless your sodium is already elevated that use of baking soda is just fine.


All Grain Brewing / Re: calcium chloride
« on: March 04, 2013, 04:17:41 PM »
From what I know most brewing water calculators use the hydration forms of the salts as shown next to the salt name here:


Beer Recipes / Re: Schwarzbier
« on: February 28, 2013, 06:59:32 PM »
Yes, too funny. I didn't intend this.

I think crystal in a Schwarzbier is fine. I use it in mine.


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