Author Topic: Acidifying the mash  (Read 12853 times)

Offline denny

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2011, 09:06:29 AM »
Thanks, that's what I was wondering.
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Offline Tristan

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2011, 12:20:26 PM »
Anyone use hydrochloric?  I haven't heard of a lot of people using it and I'm curious as to why. 

I've been using lactic acid in very small quantities (maximum of 3-4ml in 6 gallon batches) and I don't taste a flavor carry over.  I've read that phos precipitates calcium and my water is low to begin with (23ppm) so I'm a bit reluctant in buying it.
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Offline johnf

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2011, 04:32:05 PM »
Anyone use hydrochloric?  I haven't heard of a lot of people using it and I'm curious as to why. 

I've been using lactic acid in very small quantities (maximum of 3-4ml in 6 gallon batches) and I don't taste a flavor carry over.  I've read that phos precipitates calcium and my water is low to begin with (23ppm) so I'm a bit reluctant in buying it.

British breweries use a product called CRS which is hydrochloric and sulfuric blended.

I think the primary reason homebrewers aren't using it is that it is a strong acid and risky to handle.


Offline mabrungard

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2011, 06:34:29 PM »
Hydrochloric acid is fine for acidification.  It is typically available in pretty high strength, so you might have to be very careful with measurement and handling. 

I see that you've been listening to Palmer regarding phosphoric acid and calcium precipitation.  AJ DeLange debunked that myth a few months ago.  The mash is teeming with phosphates and the minor addition of phosphoric acid does little to change the potential for calcium precipitation.  It does not happen.  Using phosphoric acid is fine for mash acidification.  Phosphoric acid has very little taste effects on the beer.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2011, 06:50:22 PM »
I have been using Phosphoric acid to adjust the pH downward.  Glad to read I was not having problems.  I was worried there for a second.

The beer has been turning out pretty good.
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2011, 07:43:13 PM »
I honestly don't know where some of these goofy ideas come from.  People are going along fine, then someone says something on the internet, and all of a sudden everyone is dumping olive oil in their beer.  If your processes are working for you, stop looking for evidence to change to something else.  In this case, it should be pretty evident whether you accidentally dropped all the calcium out of your wort.  If you don't have the signs of it, then chances are it didn't happen.  Theoretical is one thing, but if you have actual empirical evidence to the contrary, just believe your own senses. 
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Offline Tristan

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2011, 08:06:57 PM »
I see that you've been listening to Palmer regarding phosphoric acid and calcium precipitation.  AJ DeLange debunked that myth a few months ago. 

Good to know!

I honestly don't know where some of these goofy ideas come from.  People are going along fine, then someone says something on the internet, and all of a sudden everyone is dumping olive oil in their beer.  If your processes are working for you, stop looking for evidence to change to something else.  In this case, it should be pretty evident whether you accidentally dropped all the calcium out of your wort.  If you don't have the signs of it, then chances are it didn't happen.  Theoretical is one thing, but if you have actual empirical evidence to the contrary, just believe your own senses. 

I agree, with the exception of when a piece of information comes from a credible source such as John Palmer (where the phos reference comes from).  If someone sees a wild theory online there is good reason to doubt it, but when it comes from a credible source there is less of a reason for dispute.   

Good point on continuing a process that works.  I don't have the most refined palate so it may just be that the lactic is adding  a flavor I can't detect.  If I can find a more neutral acid (like phos) to use I'd really like to try it.  Most of the local breweries are using phosphoric.

Everyone's process and understanding keeps evolving as more information becomes available.  I figure if I can find a better method for acidifying the mash then why not consider alternatives?  Gordon, I'm sure that's one of the reasons you're publishing a book; which by the way, I can't wait to get my hands on!
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Offline malzig

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2011, 03:52:32 AM »
I honestly don't know where some of these goofy ideas come from.
Probably from this infamous reaction:
2 H3PO4 + 3 Ca(OH)2 –> 6 H(OH) + Ca3(PO4)2

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2011, 07:08:05 AM »
To be clear, I am not saying that the calcium phosphate precipitation reaction does not take place. 

The gist of my message above is that adding phosphoric acid does not appreciably change the amount of phosphate ion in the mash.  This is due to the malt contributing on the order of 1% phosphate to the mash (this is about 10,000 ppm) and an acid addition only being maybe a 100 ppm.  So the added phosphate doesn't really change things appreciably.  Therefore, the additional potential to precipitate out more calcium is pretty small.
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #24 on: April 04, 2011, 08:01:35 AM »
To be clear, I am not saying that the calcium phosphate precipitation reaction does not take place. 

Right; neither am I.  But what's that got to do with what's actually taking place in the mash?  The "goofy idea" is that you can take a perfectly reasonable concept and then totally misapply it in practice.  Just because a basic fact is true doesn't mean that subsequent statements are also true, particularly if they ignore physical evidence to the contrary.  This isn't a new problem; it's been around long enough that there is a Latin term for it: non sequitur.  It's also how people wind up with beers that taste like Alka Seltzer.
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Offline denny

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2011, 08:36:10 AM »
I honestly don't know where some of these goofy ideas come from.  People are going along fine, then someone says something on the internet, and all of a sudden everyone is dumping olive oil in their beer.  If your processes are working for you, stop looking for evidence to change to something else.  In this case, it should be pretty evident whether you accidentally dropped all the calcium out of your wort.  If you don't have the signs of it, then chances are it didn't happen.  Theoretical is one thing, but if you have actual empirical evidence to the contrary, just believe your own senses. 

Gordon, I love you....no, not like THAT!  ;)
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Offline denny

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2011, 08:39:22 AM »

I agree, with the exception of when a piece of information comes from a credible source such as John Palmer (where the phos reference comes from).  If someone sees a wild theory online there is good reason to doubt it, but when it comes from a credible source there is less of a reason for dispute. 

Even when something comes from a "credible source" you do yourself a disservice to blindly accept it without trusting your own observations and experience.  Although the source may have established credibility in the past om some things, there's no absolute guarantee that source is accurate on all things all the time.  You need to use your own experience and common sense to see how that advice relates to you.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2011, 09:07:22 AM »

I agree, with the exception of when a piece of information comes from a credible source such as John Palmer (where the phos reference comes from).  If someone sees a wild theory online there is good reason to doubt it, but when it comes from a credible source there is less of a reason for dispute.

Even when something comes from a "credible source" you do yourself a disservice to blindly accept it without trusting your own observations and experience.  Although the source may have established credibility in the past om some things, there's no absolute guarantee that source is accurate on all things all the time.  You need to use your own experience and common sense to see how that advice relates to you.
Or to put it another way, just because a reaction happens in a test tube doesn't mean it happens (or matters) under relevant conditions.  It's a big problem in medical research, one that too many people forget.  Ultimately your in vitro results have to be tested in situ.
Tom Schmidlin

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #28 on: April 04, 2011, 09:14:10 AM »
I agree. It's like my experience with Fermcap. Many experts on here recommended it, I bought a BIG bottle of it and it's a total waste of money, in my opinion. However, I have no one to blame by myself for buying the large size.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #29 on: April 04, 2011, 09:25:25 AM »
I agree. It's like my experience with Fermcap. Many experts on here recommended it, I bought a BIG bottle of it and it's a total waste of money, in my opinion. However, I have no one to blame by myself for buying the large size.
Give it another try, it works for many of us in practice.  Feel free to ask for usage recommendations if you think that will help.  If it still doesn't work for you . . . where do you live?  If you're close I'll buy it off of you, I love the stuff. :)  I use it in the boil and during fermentation.
Tom Schmidlin