Author Topic: Lactic Acid Impact on flavour  (Read 2927 times)

Offline wort-h.o.g.

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 356
  • Was möchten Sie trinken?
    • View Profile
    • Harvey's Brewhaus
Lactic Acid Impact on flavour
« on: February 26, 2013, 07:18:48 AM »
Does anyone have any experience with lactic acid additions for lowering mash PH, and at what levels it imparts a noticeable taste attribute in the beer?

Ive read its a more subtle and smooth acid, but i'm curious as how much you can use before you might perceive it in a beer - especially beers where a tartness our sour tang is not desired.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 07:43:56 AM by wort-h.o.g. »

Offline kramerog

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 774
    • View Profile
Re: Lactic Acid Impact on flavour
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2013, 07:31:53 AM »
If you are using lactic acid to get the mash pH in range, I doubt you will ever notice it.  If the ultimate beer is within normal pH range, I doubt you will notice any lactic acid additions.
Brewers of South Suburbia
Brixie's Brewers

Offline redbeerman

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1713
  • On the banks of the mighty Susquehanna
    • View Profile
Re: Lactic Acid Impact on flavour
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 08:20:13 AM »
If you are using lactic acid to get the mash pH in range, I doubt you will ever notice it.  If the ultimate beer is within normal pH range, I doubt you will notice any lactic acid additions.

+1 You are only using the lactic acid to get in the pH range for starch conversion.  The concentration   would have to be much higher for you to pick up on it in the final beer.
CH3CH2OH - Without it, life itself would be impossible.

[441, 112.1deg] AR

Jim

Offline wort-h.o.g.

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 356
  • Was möchten Sie trinken?
    • View Profile
    • Harvey's Brewhaus
Re: Lactic Acid Impact on flavour
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 08:25:50 AM »
If you are using lactic acid to get the mash pH in range, I doubt you will ever notice it.  If the ultimate beer is within normal pH range, I doubt you will notice any lactic acid additions.

+1 You are only using the lactic acid to get in the pH range for starch conversion.  The concentration   would have to be much higher for you to pick up on it in the final beer.

so mash additions of 2-5ml for a typical 5-gal recipe is negligible?

Offline redbeerman

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1713
  • On the banks of the mighty Susquehanna
    • View Profile
Re: Lactic Acid Impact on flavour
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 08:29:37 AM »
If you are using lactic acid to get the mash pH in range, I doubt you will ever notice it.  If the ultimate beer is within normal pH range, I doubt you will notice any lactic acid additions.

+1 You are only using the lactic acid to get in the pH range for starch conversion.  The concentration   would have to be much higher for you to pick up on it in the final beer.

so mash additions of 2-5ml for a typical 5-gal recipe is negligible?

Yessir.  I have used both lactic acid and phosphoric acid additions.  Can't tell either are there.
CH3CH2OH - Without it, life itself would be impossible.

[441, 112.1deg] AR

Jim

Online Kaiser

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Imperial Brewing Geek
    • View Profile
    • braukaiser.com
Re: Lactic Acid Impact on flavour
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2013, 09:03:44 AM »
2-5 ml for a 5 gal batch should be fine. this comes out to about 1-3% equivalent amount of acidulated malt.

The concern with too much lactic acid to get to the proper mash pH is that there might be too much lactate in the final beer. But you'll be fine with less than 4% acidulated malt equivalent. There is not much data available on this and this 4-5% limit is what many home brewers go by.

Kai

Offline wort-h.o.g.

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 356
  • Was möchten Sie trinken?
    • View Profile
    • Harvey's Brewhaus
Re: Lactic Acid Impact on flavour
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2013, 09:12:13 AM »
2-5 ml for a 5 gal batch should be fine. this comes out to about 1-3% equivalent amount of acidulated malt.

The concern with too much lactic acid to get to the proper mash pH is that there might be too much lactate in the final beer. But you'll be fine with less than 4% acidulated malt equivalent. There is not much data available on this and this 4-5% limit is what many home brewers go by.

Kai

Kai- exactly what I was looking for...upper limit thresholds.  before i switched over to distilled water, i had to add around 8-10ml lactic acid due to my well water profile. that would put me over the 4-5% for sure.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 09:16:46 AM by wort-h.o.g. »

Online Kaiser

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Imperial Brewing Geek
    • View Profile
    • braukaiser.com
Re: Lactic Acid Impact on flavour
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2013, 09:23:13 AM »
Yes, very alkaline well water will require lots of acid. That's why it is recommended to remove alkalinity from such waters (through decarbonation or dilution) even if acid will still be needed to get the mash pH down.

another source of acid is sparge water acidification.

That's why I added reporting of equivalent grist acidulated malt % to the Brewer's Friend Water calculator.

Kai

Offline yso191

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 629
  • Yakima, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Lactic Acid Impact on flavour
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2013, 09:27:47 AM »
Somewhere in my studies I came across this info and wrote it on my cheatsheet:

"1 ml lactic acid per gal max: 400 ppm flavor threshold (6.5 Ml in 5 galllons of BEER is the flavor threshold) so preboiled wort must be less"

FWIW
Steve

Offline kramerog

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 774
    • View Profile
Re: Lactic Acid Impact on flavour
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2013, 09:48:12 AM »
Somewhere in my studies I came across this info and wrote it on my cheatsheet:

"1 ml lactic acid per gal max: 400 ppm flavor threshold (6.5 Ml in 5 galllons of BEER is the flavor threshold) so preboiled wort must be less"

FWIW

Is that the taste threshold in water or beer and what kind of beer?  I've used 5 ml / 5 gal in mashes in the past without noticing a taste impact.  FWIW, I generally do not need to use any acids to adjust my mash pH.  I have also not discerned any taste change when adding 5 ml to 5 gal of finished wit in an attempt to get a little sourness, but did notice a change when adding 10 ml.
Brewers of South Suburbia
Brixie's Brewers

Offline yso191

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 629
  • Yakima, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Lactic Acid Impact on flavour
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2013, 10:33:45 AM »
Somewhere in my studies I came across this info and wrote it on my cheatsheet:

"1 ml lactic acid per gal max: 400 ppm flavor threshold (6.5 Ml in 5 galllons of BEER is the flavor threshold) so preboiled wort must be less"

FWIW

Is that the taste threshold in water or beer and what kind of beer?  I've used 5 ml / 5 gal in mashes in the past without noticing a taste impact.  FWIW, I generally do not need to use any acids to adjust my mash pH.  I have also not discerned any taste change when adding 5 ml to 5 gal of finished wit in an attempt to get a little sourness, but did notice a change when adding 10 ml.

When I wrote the note to myself it was to provide a boundary for me - just knowing where I'd be safe.  Your experience bears out what I understand.  And yes it was in beer (the finished product) not water, but I don't know that there would be a difference.  I also don't know that the type of beer makes any difference, though it seems intuitive that a very light beer would show it more quickly than a more full-flavored beer.

I also would think that when using lactic acid in a mash some of it will be left behind with the grain, and not end up in the boil kettle.  But I don't have the ability nor inclination to do the calculation.  It is enough for me to know that for a 5 gallon batch I can use up to 5 ml of lactic acid in the mash to drop the pH without negative impact.
Steve

Online Kaiser

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Imperial Brewing Geek
    • View Profile
    • braukaiser.com
Re: Lactic Acid Impact on flavour
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2013, 10:43:04 AM »
I have seen that 400 mg/l number before and think that it probably applies to light lager of general strength (12 Plato). I think the taste threshold is certainly affected by the gravity of the beer and other characteristics. (IBUs come to mind).

Kai

Offline wort-h.o.g.

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 356
  • Was möchten Sie trinken?
    • View Profile
    • Harvey's Brewhaus
Re: Lactic Acid Impact on flavour
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2013, 10:56:33 AM »
I have seen that 400 mg/l number before and think that it probably applies to light lager of general strength (12 Plato). I think the taste threshold is certainly affected by the gravity of the beer and other characteristics. (IBUs come to mind).

Kai

this is all interesting. i have two pale ales in kegs - both about 1.057 OG. one was well water using 10mg lactic acid in mash to adjust ph to 5.4, and the other with distilled using just 1ml lactic acid to adjust to ph of 5.4. there is a definite twang to the 10ml lactic acid beer, and im starting to think after all this discussion that it was impacted by the higher concentration of lactic acid.

Offline davidgzach

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1498
    • View Profile
Re: Lactic Acid Impact on flavour
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2013, 11:24:06 AM »
I have seen that 400 mg/l number before and think that it probably applies to light lager of general strength (12 Plato). I think the taste threshold is certainly affected by the gravity of the beer and other characteristics. (IBUs come to mind).

Kai

this is all interesting. i have two pale ales in kegs - both about 1.057 OG. one was well water using 10mg lactic acid in mash to adjust ph to 5.4, and the other with distilled using just 1ml lactic acid to adjust to ph of 5.4. there is a definite twang to the 10ml lactic acid beer, and im starting to think after all this discussion that it was impacted by the higher concentration of lactic acid.

Same yeast?
Dave Zach

Offline wort-h.o.g.

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 356
  • Was möchten Sie trinken?
    • View Profile
    • Harvey's Brewhaus
Re: Lactic Acid Impact on flavour
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2013, 11:33:20 AM »
I have seen that 400 mg/l number before and think that it probably applies to light lager of general strength (12 Plato). I think the taste threshold is certainly affected by the gravity of the beer and other characteristics. (IBUs come to mind).

Kai

this is all interesting. i have two pale ales in kegs - both about 1.057 OG. one was well water using 10mg lactic acid in mash to adjust ph to 5.4, and the other with distilled using just 1ml lactic acid to adjust to ph of 5.4. there is a definite twang to the 10ml lactic acid beer, and im starting to think after all this discussion that it was impacted by the higher concentration of lactic acid.

Same yeast?

correct wlp007 and both about 34 ibu  using same hop schedule of fuggle and ek goldings dry hops.