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Author Topic: Acidulated malt in a Belgian  (Read 1204 times)

Offline kgs

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Acidulated malt in a Belgian
« on: November 19, 2022, 05:53:40 pm »
I placed an order at my LHBS early today and the order was ready by the time I was headed out to run errands. Love these folks. In the email order receipt was a note, "I ADDED A SAMPLE OF ACIDULATED MALT TO THIS ORDER IN CASE YOU MIGHT WANT TO ADJUST YOUR MASH PH IN THIS BASE MALT ONLY RECIPE." (I think the caps were used so the note didn't get lost in all the other text.)

Browsing around, it sounds as if this might be a good thing to do. I have made this recipe a few times (four or five?) and it's come out fine, so I do have that little hesitation, but I'm also open to it coming out finer. It's a Belgian (ca. 3.25 gallons) with 7.5 lbs Belgian Pils, 12 oz cane sugar, Wyeast 3522, and Saaz and Tettnanger. I created the recipe using info from Brewing Classic Styles and Brew Like a Monk and haven't really reconsidered it, other than this time I bumped up the grain bill by 8 ounces to make it a tad bigger. Thoughts? (Or should that be THOUGHTS?)
K.G. Schneider
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Acidulated malt in a Belgian
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2022, 07:34:44 pm »
Do you know what your pH is on those other recipes? If not, then hard to say wether you should use it or not. Basically 1% of acid malt will lower your pH by about 0.1 pH.

Online fredthecat

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Re: Acidulated malt in a Belgian
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2022, 07:37:45 pm »
thats pretty nice.my online HBS keeps sending me free of charge near BBD yeasts, but lol i dont plan for them so dont want to waste them but i just cant end up using them. i might throw all 3 ive collected into some big beer some time.

re: acid malt. ive been using BRUNWATER spreadsheets from mabrungard and its another quality tool to improve your beer. if youre building from RO water you can just put that in and add all your salts and adjust the pH etc or get your city water profile and put that in. im doing a 100% pilsner beer next and am using 3% acid malt to reach mash pH

Offline kgs

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Re: Acidulated malt in a Belgian
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2022, 07:35:47 am »
thats pretty nice.my online HBS keeps sending me free of charge near BBD yeasts, but lol i dont plan for them so dont want to waste them but i just cant end up using them. i might throw all 3 ive collected into some big beer some time.

re: acid malt. ive been using BRUNWATER spreadsheets from mabrungard and its another quality tool to improve your beer. if youre building from RO water you can just put that in and add all your salts and adjust the pH etc or get your city water profile and put that in. im doing a 100% pilsner beer next and am using 3% acid malt to reach mash pH

I admit I tried using BRUNWATER once several years ago and felt overwhelmed and didn't like the results. I'm absolutely sure that's due to me and my learning curve (or lack of learning). I didn't think I could get flummoxed by a spreadsheet and some ingredients, but I was wrong. Mastering water is that next step I want to do but do not feel confident enough, so I continue to use filtered city water or bottled spring water and treat with Campden... no process improvement with water since I first started brewing in 2009.

I won't brew this batch for several days so there is a little time to email the store and ask about the acidulated malt (the store now operates as a pickup / mail order warehouse, so I don't actually see anyone, unless I attend a demo or accidentally run into someone restocking the pickup shelves). They also sell RO water, should I get my courage up to try building a water profile.
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Online fredthecat

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Re: Acidulated malt in a Belgian
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2022, 08:34:03 am »
thats pretty nice.my online HBS keeps sending me free of charge near BBD yeasts, but lol i dont plan for them so dont want to waste them but i just cant end up using them. i might throw all 3 ive collected into some big beer some time.

re: acid malt. ive been using BRUNWATER spreadsheets from mabrungard and its another quality tool to improve your beer. if youre building from RO water you can just put that in and add all your salts and adjust the pH etc or get your city water profile and put that in. im doing a 100% pilsner beer next and am using 3% acid malt to reach mash pH

I admit I tried using BRUNWATER once several years ago and felt overwhelmed and didn't like the results. I'm absolutely sure that's due to me and my learning curve (or lack of learning). I didn't think I could get flummoxed by a spreadsheet and some ingredients, but I was wrong. Mastering water is that next step I want to do but do not feel confident enough, so I continue to use filtered city water or bottled spring water and treat with Campden... no process improvement with water since I first started brewing in 2009.

I won't brew this batch for several days so there is a little time to email the store and ask about the acidulated malt (the store now operates as a pickup / mail order warehouse, so I don't actually see anyone, unless I attend a demo or accidentally run into someone restocking the pickup shelves). They also sell RO water, should I get my courage up to try building a water profile.

if you google your city or county name and "municipal water report" it may come up already on google, or you could email or phone the city and they will let you know. then just enter the element amounts at the top of BRUNWATER, other than that it should be somewhat straightforward.

but even just knowing from the municipal water report if your water is soft, moderate or hard will let you know roughly how you should adjust it in any way with acid, acid malt or nothing at all.

Offline denny

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Re: Acidulated malt in a Belgian
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2022, 09:00:22 am »
thats pretty nice.my online HBS keeps sending me free of charge near BBD yeasts, but lol i dont plan for them so dont want to waste them but i just cant end up using them. i might throw all 3 ive collected into some big beer some time.

re: acid malt. ive been using BRUNWATER spreadsheets from mabrungard and its another quality tool to improve your beer. if youre building from RO water you can just put that in and add all your salts and adjust the pH etc or get your city water profile and put that in. im doing a 100% pilsner beer next and am using 3% acid malt to reach mash pH

I admit I tried using BRUNWATER once several years ago and felt overwhelmed and didn't like the results. I'm absolutely sure that's due to me and my learning curve (or lack of learning). I didn't think I could get flummoxed by a spreadsheet and some ingredients, but I was wrong. Mastering water is that next step I want to do but do not feel confident enough, so I continue to use filtered city water or bottled spring water and treat with Campden... no process improvement with water since I first started brewing in 2009.

I won't brew this batch for several days so there is a little time to email the store and ask about the acidulated malt (the store now operates as a pickup / mail order warehouse, so I don't actually see anyone, unless I attend a demo or accidentally run into someone restocking the pickup shelves). They also sell RO water, should I get my courage up to try building a water profile.

Acidulated malt is used to adjust pH. Like Keith said, if you don't know what your pH is you have no idea how to adjust it. Since you've been happy with the results before, I'd leave it out this time and do the research to find out if it might help next time 
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Offline BrewBama

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Acidulated malt in a Belgian
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2022, 12:09:32 pm »
I have not had to add acidulated malt to reach the pH window I target (5.3 +/- .1). However, I take specific steps to ensure that’s the case. Some other brewer using different variables may need to use acid malt.

TL;DR — Once I understood my water profile and water treatments, I quit worrying about mash pH at all. No PITA spreadsheet reinventing the wheel days before brewing or tedious salt measurements on gram scales.


Here’s what I do:

[1] Adjust brewing liquor: de-aerate RO or distilled water with 1 gram per gallon each active dry yeast and sugar heated to 114°F for at least 20 min. After at least 20 min but up to two days, continue to heat to strike temp. (Ref: https://www.themodernbrewhouse.com/deoxygenation-revisited/). Add 1/2 tsp hydrated Brewtan B to strike liquor at strike temp prior to mash in. (Ref: J. Formanek)

[2] Mash pH control: ONLY mash malts/grains that require it. DO NOT mash malts that don’t require it. (Dark Crystal and Roast malts.) They screw with pH. Hold Dark Crystal and Roast malts to Mash Out for a 30 min hot steep. Most dark grains are simply added for flavor and color, so I don’t let them ruin my mash chemistry and drive unwanted salt additions. (Ref: G Strong)

[3] Adjust Mash: use 50-100 ppm Ca as a co-factor for the amylase enzymes and to help protect α-amylase at normal mashing temperatures. Calcium in the water reacts with phosphates in the grain husks to release phytic acid, which lowers the mash pH naturally. (Ref: G Strong)  Also add 1 tsp (~3-4 grams) Ascorbic Acid as a stabilizer. Add adjustments direct to grain prior to adding to MLT prior adding brewhaus liquor.

[4] To get Ca, use 1 tsp calcium chloride to each 5 gallons of water treated. For soft water beers (i.e Pils, Helles) use half the baseline amount of calcium chloride. For British beers: Add gypsum as well as calcium chloride. For very minerally beers (Export, Burton ale): Double the calcium chloride and the gypsum. (Ref: AJ DeLange) I do this in the BeerSmith water module to validate water volume, Ca ppm, and sulfate:chloride ratio for British beers: 2:1 for bitter beers, 1:2 for milds, and 1:3 for stouts and porters. (Ref: G Strong)


*Disclaimer*: Any comment I add is simply the way I brew beer. I am not paid or sponsored by anyone. There are certainly other ways that can be equally effective which other brewers may contribute. This is what I’ve found that works for me using my equipment and processes so I offer this for your consideration. YMMV
« Last Edit: November 21, 2022, 06:31:50 am by BrewBama »

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Acidulated malt in a Belgian
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2022, 05:28:17 pm »
You need to know where you are, in order to get directions to your destination. This applies to travel and brewing water chemistry.
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Offline kgs

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Re: Acidulated malt in a Belgian
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2022, 09:03:19 am »
You need to know where you are, in order to get directions to your destination. This applies to travel and brewing water chemistry.

This applies to most of life! It will be interesting to see why they made this recommendation. It could be based on their knowledge of me. If they know I use filtered local water and that I don't make adjustments other than Campden -- which could be inferable from my buying behavior as well as comments I could have made -- then they have a starting point. Sometimes I have seen a stranger looking lost and have helped orient them. Or it could be random unsolicited advice I can safely ignore. I have certainly had people try to steer me to places I wasn't going.

Perhaps I should name this batch "Metaphor..."
K.G. Schneider
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Acidulated malt in a Belgian
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2022, 10:58:28 am »
You need to know where you are, in order to get directions to your destination. This applies to travel and brewing water chemistry.

This applies to most of life! It will be interesting to see why they made this recommendation. It could be based on their knowledge of me. If they know I use filtered local water and that I don't make adjustments other than Campden -- which could be inferable from my buying behavior as well as comments I could have made -- then they have a starting point. Sometimes I have seen a stranger looking lost and have helped orient them. Or it could be random unsolicited advice I can safely ignore. I have certainly had people try to steer me to places I wasn't going.

Perhaps I should name this batch "Metaphor..."

The pH of your mash has to do with the buffering capacity of the grain you are using combined with your water chemistry. I highly doubt the homebrew shop knows this. You need to figure this out. First, you will need a copy of your water report followed by a way to read the pH of your mash. Either strips or a pH meter. Without these, it is hard to give a good reason to try to make pH adjustments on your mash if you don't have any idea what the pH of the mash is.

That said, most likely a beer using all pilsner malt will have a higher pH so a small amount of acid malt will lower your pH (by about .1 per 1% added) so if you are brewing a Tripel it could be a welcome addition. Problem is you won't know how much to use to get your pH in the range you need.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2022, 11:07:37 am by majorvices »