Author Topic: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?  (Read 1269 times)

Offline Jayborracho

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Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
« on: May 28, 2021, 09:18:06 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?

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2021, 10:24:58 am »
I have used that much without flavor issues.  As I understand it, phosphoric acid is pretty tasteless, unlike lactic acid.
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Offline Big_Eight

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Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2021, 10:36:23 am »
I've used up to 25ml no issues.

Offline BrewBama

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Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2021, 11:34:05 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)
« Last Edit: May 28, 2021, 12:02:57 pm by BrewBama »
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Offline goose

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Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2021, 01:21:42 pm »
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.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2021, 01:47:27 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)
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.
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2021, 02:14:24 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)
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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Offline denny

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Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2021, 02:35:12 pm »
A great method if you like the way adding grain late turns out.  I find that I almost never do.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2021, 02:41:44 pm »
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.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2021, 03:44:58 pm by ynotbrusum »
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Offline Silver_Is_Money

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Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2021, 03:09:29 pm »
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.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2021, 03:13:48 pm by Silver_Is_Money »

Offline ttash

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Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2021, 04:21:14 pm »
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.

Offline BrewBama

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Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2021, 04:33:50 pm »
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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« Last Edit: May 28, 2021, 04:59:00 pm by BrewBama »
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2021, 04:47:09 pm »
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. 
« Last Edit: May 28, 2021, 04:48:58 pm by Village Taphouse »
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Offline Cliffs

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Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2021, 05:00:20 pm »
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.

Offline denny

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Re: Phosphoric acid, how much is too much?
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2021, 05:10:50 pm »
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.
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