Author Topic: Acidifying the mash  (Read 12495 times)

Offline bassriverbrewer

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Acidifying the mash
« on: February 15, 2011, 02:33:16 PM »
Has anyone ever tried using acids other than lactic to acidify a mash such as citric,malic or tartaric acid? Just curious

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2011, 03:08:36 PM »
That is an interesting thought.  These are somewhat more flavorful acids and you can typically find them in a homebrew shop that deals with wino's.  Other than their flavor contributions, I can't see a reason not to consider using them.  In some cases, these acids might have a flavor component that you might want in your beer. 

I look forward to hearing from those who have used these acids in beer usage.
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Offline lonnie mac

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2011, 03:15:37 PM »
Funny, I have never used lactic. I have most always used citric. It takes sooooo little to drop the ph that I can't see it imparting a flavor component to any beer. Years ago, I used phosphoric and that worked very well too but the citric was more readily available.

Offline bassriverbrewer

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2011, 04:55:43 PM »
how much do you use and how much of a drop in ph do you get?

Offline lonnie mac

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2011, 05:55:59 PM »
how much do you use and how much of a drop in ph do you get?


I can't say how much as I don't measure. I acidify 20 gallons of my total brew day water at once in one container and monitor the PH actively. I add just literally a pinch at a time and watch the PH fall until I get it to where I want it. Usually right around 6.0.

Offline alikocho

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2011, 03:27:17 PM »
I'm pretty certain that Charlie Papazian mentions using citric acid at some point in the Complete Joy of Homebrewing. I don;t have a copy to hand to check, but I seem to remember it....
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Offline nateo

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2011, 09:50:53 PM »
Here's a link to some questions about using lactic acid, and the byproducts from doing so:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/alkalinity-lactic-acid-222141/

Take careful note of what AJ Delange says.
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Offline frteach

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2011, 04:29:15 PM »
I generally do a lot of sour mashing since I learned how.  Upstate NY has pretty good water for hitting target ph, but I still do it anyways.   I always do a sour mash with any recipe requiring wheat. I think it can really mellow the tartness of wheat and still not be sour-sour.  Manhattan judges never detected any lactic acid traits in my beer.  I don't want it do be too sour but it does take a little off the edge of the tart wheat flavor.  From several books, sour mashing was popular for acidifying a mash. 

If it helps, what I do, depending on the grain bill and style, I like to do a 5% minimash 1-3 days before the main mash depending on if I want sour or just acid.  Mash the 5% as usual then rest to 90 degrees, pitch about 2oz of unmashed grain on top, put lid back on overnight.  One person in my club said he did it in a kettle and put 4 brewbelts on it.  My acidity tests show 1lb after 1 day usually makes 5.0. (store spring water here is 5.5) Next day prepare the full grain bill and add the acid mash to the grains and water, then mash the whole thing.  There isn't enough contact time for a new fermentation on the big mash and boiling is going to take care of the critters.

My lambics & sours I do 20% for 2-3 days and still pitch WY3278 or High grav and IMHO, sour mashing is a very good way of acidifying a mash and is more controllable than some think. 

Offline Kaiser

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2011, 08:21:09 PM »
I can't say how much as I don't measure. I acidify 20 gallons of my total brew day water at once in one container and monitor the PH actively. I add just literally a pinch at a time and watch the PH fall until I get it to where I want it. Usually right around 6.0.

What you are doing is to partially neutralize the alkalinity of the water. Depending on your water that may not take much acid at all. It's different when you are adding malt and the acid is used to drop the mash pH significantly.

Kai

Offline gmac

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2011, 02:28:43 PM »
I can't say how much as I don't measure. I acidify 20 gallons of my total brew day water at once in one container and monitor the PH actively. I add just literally a pinch at a time and watch the PH fall until I get it to where I want it. Usually right around 6.0.

What you are doing is to partially neutralize the alkalinity of the water. Depending on your water that may not take much acid at all. It's different when you are adding malt and the acid is used to drop the mash pH significantly.

Kai

I couldn't find lactic or phosphoric acid around here so I got citric from a wine shop.  Is it better to lower the water pH prior to mashing as noted above or should I add it to the mash (will certainly take me some trial and error to get that right)? 

Offline denny

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2011, 02:35:29 PM »
I couldn't find lactic or phosphoric acid around here so I got citric from a wine shop.  Is it better to lower the water pH prior to mashing as noted above or should I add it to the mash (will certainly take me some trial and error to get that right)? 

Mash pH is what matters, not water pH.  Mash in, read the pH, and adjust as necessary.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2011, 02:52:10 PM »
Yes, water pH is less the issue for mash use.  It is water alkalinity that is the primary concern which drives mash pH.  Fortunately, Bru'n Water is a tool that enables brewers to adjust their water alkalinity prior to doughing in to improve the probability that they will hit their desired mash pH.  

I personally adjust alkalinity of my mash water with acid prior to doughing in, but it should be roughly equivalent to adding the acid after doughing in and the volume of acid added should be equal.  Your choice.  I do recommend that even when calculating what the acid amount is with Bru'n Water, you should reserve a bit of the acid and check the mash pH after a few minutes and see if you still need to add the remainder.  

The acidification calculator used in Bru'n Water is directly from the work by AJ Delange and I've used it for years.  It is quite accurate as long as you know your water alkalinity and acid type and strength.
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2011, 05:24:09 PM »
Late reply, but I use phosphoric acid exclusively.  You can buy it online from mail order homebrew shops if you can't get it locally.  Several places carry it.
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Offline denny

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2011, 08:56:25 AM »
Late reply, but I use phosphoric acid exclusively.  You can buy it online from mail order homebrew shops if you can't get it locally.  Several places carry it.

Gordon, what differences have you found between phosporic and lactic acids that made you choose phosporic?
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Acidifying the mash
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2011, 09:05:21 AM »
Never used lactic, so I can't compare.  I just know that it's an off flavor in beer, so I try to avoid using it in case it has any flavor carry-over.  I figured that phosphoric acid has more common elements with beer ingredients (malt, specifically) than lactic (which is a milk souring acid), so I tried to keep it in the family.  Not saying other ways are wrong, just what I do.
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