Author Topic: Alternative to lactic acid  (Read 3457 times)

Offline goschman

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Alternative to lactic acid
« on: October 09, 2014, 02:28:19 PM »
My lbhs doesn't have lactic acid but they have a couple other types of acid like citric, tartaric, etc. Any recommended subs that I can use to treat my sparge water?
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Alternative to lactic acid
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2014, 02:32:22 PM »
No, I wouldn't sub any of those and feel it was reliable, aside from any flavor impact. This is a case where I would buy some online - a bottle will last a LONG time  :

http://morebeer.com/products/lactic-acid-4-oz.html

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Offline goschman

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Re: Alternative to lactic acid
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2014, 02:38:42 PM »
Okay thanks. I assumed those were for wine. I am brewing today so I will just have to skip it. It is my first time treating my water so I will just worry abut treating the mash to get the ph to 5.4 and some needed calcium
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Alternative to lactic acid
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2014, 02:41:55 PM »
If you can get your pH 5.4 without the lactic then you don't need the lactic anyway! so that's a plus.
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Offline goschman

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Re: Alternative to lactic acid
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2014, 02:45:15 PM »
If you can get your pH 5.4 without the lactic then you don't need the lactic anyway! so that's a plus.

Thanks. Yeah I need to make the mash more alkaline. My waters ph is 7.74. Don't I want to acidifying my sparge water between 5.5 and 6?
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Up Next: Euro Pale, IPA

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Alternative to lactic acid
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2014, 02:52:51 PM »
If you can get your pH 5.4 without the lactic then you don't need the lactic anyway! so that's a plus.

Thanks. Yeah I need to make the mash more alkaline. My waters ph is 7.74. Don't I want to acidifying my sparge water between 5.5 and 6?

are you batch or fly spargeing? and what's your water like? 7.74 for a relatively soft water may not be a big deal. water with lot's of alkalinity and a pH that high might be.

If you are batch spargeing it's less of a problem but it still comes down to the alkalinity rather than the pH.
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Offline goschman

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Re: Alternative to lactic acid
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2014, 03:05:36 PM »
Ok got ya. I won't worry about it until I understand it...ha. I batch sparge
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Offline factory

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Re: Alternative to lactic acid
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2014, 03:55:30 PM »
If you can get your pH 5.4 without the lactic then you don't need the lactic anyway! so that's a plus.

Thanks. Yeah I need to make the mash more alkaline. My waters ph is 7.74. Don't I want to acidifying my sparge water between 5.5 and 6?

are you batch or fly spargeing? and what's your water like? 7.74 for a relatively soft water may not be a big deal. water with lot's of alkalinity and a pH that high might be.

If you are batch spargeing it's less of a problem but it still comes down to the alkalinity rather than the pH.

I'm dumb, so I'll ask.  Is it because when you are fly sparging the pH starts to rise near the end (and therefore cause unwanted tannin extraction)?

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Alternative to lactic acid
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2014, 04:08:15 PM »
If you can get your pH 5.4 without the lactic then you don't need the lactic anyway! so that's a plus.

Thanks. Yeah I need to make the mash more alkaline. My waters ph is 7.74. Don't I want to acidifying my sparge water between 5.5 and 6?

are you batch or fly spargeing? and what's your water like? 7.74 for a relatively soft water may not be a big deal. water with lot's of alkalinity and a pH that high might be.

If you are batch spargeing it's less of a problem but it still comes down to the alkalinity rather than the pH.

I'm dumb, so I'll ask.  Is it because when you are fly sparging the pH starts to rise near the end (and therefore cause unwanted tannin extraction)?

yes. with fly spargeing you are very efficienctly rinsing the sugar and the pH lowering capacity of the grains towards the bottom of the grain bed. So as you add more water there is much less at the top of the grain bed. with batch you are draining ~half to 2/3 of the sugars and the pH lowering capacity of the grains but the remaining half to 1/3 is evenly distributed throughout the grain bed.

I apoligize but I can't remember the correct terminology for the substance in the grain that interacts with calcium to lower the pH of the mash. Someone smarter than me will I am sure chime in.

** EDIT **
It's phytin in the grain that combines with calcium and magnesium to create phytic acid
« Last Edit: October 09, 2014, 05:35:08 PM by morticaixavier »
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Offline David Lester

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Re: Alternative to lactic acid
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2014, 04:11:19 PM »
I use Phosphoric Acid at 25% dillution, which was recommended by Heir Brewer Author and three time Ninkasi Winner Gordon Strong. In his book "Brewing Better Beer" he notes that Lactic Acid gives a harsher bitterness than Phosphoric Acid, which is used in sodas. I got mine on e-bay.


Good Luck,

Offline denny

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Re: Alternative to lactic acid
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2014, 04:12:20 PM »
I use Phosphoric Acid at 25% dillution, which was recommended by Heir Brewer Author and three time Ninkasi Winner Gordon Strong. In his book "Brewing Better Beer" he notes that Lactic Acid gives a harsher bitterness than Phosphoric Acid, which is used in sodas. I got mine on e-bay.


Good Luck,

Used at reasonable amounts, I haven't noticed the problem Gordon mentions.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Alternative to lactic acid
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2014, 04:15:44 PM »


Used at reasonable amounts, I haven't noticed the problem Gordon mentions.

Same here. And I like being able to calculate the lactic in Bru'nWater.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Alternative to lactic acid
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2014, 05:29:04 PM »
Of course when you know the strength of the liquid acid, you can use Bru'n Water to calculate the additions of a variety of acids including phosphoric.

I had not seen that recommendation from Gordon before. Given that he and I live in the land of alkaline waters, using lactic acid is not the best choice because you would probably end up using enough to create a perceptible taste 'twang' from the lactate ion. I have never heard of its effect referred to as a 'harsher bitterness'. When used at most rates, lactic acid is pretty smooth tasting to me. Think of the last Berliner Weisse that had a harsh bitterness.  I think Gordon confused his terms. In addition, all German beers are acidified with lactic acid (via acid malt) and I'm pretty sure they aren't harsh.

With all that said, if your water has more than about 150 ppm alkalinity to neutralize, you should move on to an acid like phosphoric. Phosphoric tends to be the most taste-neutral in beer. 
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Alternative to lactic acid
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2014, 06:01:15 PM »
Of course when you know the strength of the liquid acid, you can use Bru'n Water to calculate the additions of a variety of acids including phosphoric.


Somehow I've managed to miss that feature, Martin. But I started out with lactic and have always had good luck with it, ie., no 'twang'.  Good to know though.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Alternative to lactic acid
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2014, 06:23:23 PM »
Of course when you know the strength of the liquid acid, you can use Bru'n Water to calculate the additions of a variety of acids including phosphoric.


Somehow I've managed to miss that feature, Martin. But I started out with lactic and have always had good luck with it, ie., no 'twang'.  Good to know though.

I use the mash acidification tab as a starting point, treating my strike water and adjusting 10 min or so after dough in. Same goes with sparge acidification tab.

For me, its been dead on estimating mash pH. Another well-made tool in that toolbox.

If you have to use phosphoric, be safe. Use gloves and goggles. I like lactic acid for this reason - even at high concentrations, its much less harsh on skin.
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