Author Topic: Adjusting RA with Lactic - How much is too much?  (Read 1295 times)

Offline ne-brewer

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Aurora, NE
    • View Profile
Adjusting RA with Lactic - How much is too much?
« on: December 31, 2009, 09:58:17 AM »
I have very hard water (great for SRM of 26+) and have been diluting my water with as much as 75% RO for a light colored beer to get RA in line with Palmer's spreadsheet (and then adding back the minerals needed to get balanced again). This means as much as 4+ gallons for a 5.5 gallon batch. At $1 a gallon, that adds $4 to each batch. :o

Although hard, my water has well balanced minerals. So..... I am wanting to make the adjustments with Lactic acid instead of RO and salts. Apparently I need to add 3 ml of 88%-lactic acid to get the RA where it needs to be to get the proper pH.

Is there a limit as to how much lactic can be added before flavor starts to suffer?  ???

Thanks!
Roger
-------------------------------
Keg#1: Honey Blonde
Keg#2: Jamil's Mild (dark)
Keg#3: Jamil's Nut Brown
Keg#4: Hefeweizen
Keg#5: Amber-Simple-Malty
Keg#6: empty
Fermenting: Moose Drool
Next: Dunkelweizen?

Online Kaiser

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Imperial Brewing Geek
    • View Profile
    • braukaiser.com
Re: Adjusting RA with Lactic - How much is too much?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2009, 10:24:17 AM »
I think 3 ml is fine. This corresponds to about 5% acid malt. Not having much data on that I would not go much beyond than amount of lactic acid or acid malt. At some point I figure that you'll taste the lactate that comes from the lactic acid.

How alkaline and hard is your water? Light lagers, for example, may not do as well with very hard water in the first place. And acid additions don't change the water hardness. They only change its alkalinity.

Kai

Offline ne-brewer

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Aurora, NE
    • View Profile
Re: Adjusting RA with Lactic - How much is too much?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2009, 11:26:16 AM »
I think 3 ml is fine. This corresponds to about 5% acid malt. Not having much data on that I would not go much beyond than amount of lactic acid or acid malt. At some point I figure that you'll taste the lactate that comes from the lactic acid.

How alkaline and hard is your water? Light lagers, for example, may not do as well with very hard water in the first place. And acid additions don't change the water hardness. They only change its alkalinity.

Kai

Thanks Kai...

My water report (Ward Labs) shows: Ca=112, Mg=19, CaCO3=346, Na=55, Cl=17, SO4=14   So....adding .5g of table salt (no Iodine) brings the Na to 65 and the Cl to 35 so I end up with a Cl:SO4 ratio of 2.4:1 which is what I like (malty!).

Should I be trying to get any of those other numbers  modified? I'm doing a low hop Malty Amber that is SRM of 12. That is about the lightest I go for SRM.

Thanks again Kai!

Roger
-------------------------------
Keg#1: Honey Blonde
Keg#2: Jamil's Mild (dark)
Keg#3: Jamil's Nut Brown
Keg#4: Hefeweizen
Keg#5: Amber-Simple-Malty
Keg#6: empty
Fermenting: Moose Drool
Next: Dunkelweizen?

Online Kaiser

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Imperial Brewing Geek
    • View Profile
    • braukaiser.com
Re: Adjusting RA with Lactic - How much is too much?
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2009, 12:00:19 PM »
Is the CaCO3 hardness or alkalinity?

Either way you have very alkaline water and I see how it can be a problem for anything below ~15 SRM.

To brew a 12 SRM amber with this water and about 1.5 qt/lb mash thickness I estimate a mash pH of about 5.7. It might work but it is on the upper end. To get you closer to 5.5 you coud dilute with 50% R/O water or add 0.02 % of the water volume as lactic acid. For 15 qt strike water this is about 3 ml.

Given that it is an ale it should not have much problem with the high calcium and magnesium content of the water. But you may actually try both and see what you like better. I know that this might be more work than you wanted to do but it will give you an idea how to best deal with your water.

Given that your water is very high in temporary hardness (low sulfate and chloride compared to Ca, Mg and alkalinity) it should also respond very well to alkalinity reduction by boiling or lime treatment. The latter is used by many breweries but a bit more involved.

Kai

Offline ne-brewer

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Aurora, NE
    • View Profile
Re: Adjusting RA with Lactic - How much is too much?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2009, 03:43:24 PM »
Is the CaCO3 hardness or alkalinity? ..359 as Hardness and 346 as alkalinity

Either way you have very alkaline water and I see how it can be a problem for anything below ~15 SRM.

To brew a 12 SRM amber with this water and about 1.5 qt/lb mash thickness I estimate a mash pH of about 5.7. It might work but it is on the upper end. To get you closer to 5.5 you coud dilute with 50% R/O water or add 0.02 % of the water volume as lactic acid. For 15 qt strike water this is about 3 ml. As you probably know, I'm a noobie with only 9 months experience so I'm always looking for verification/confirmation .... I'm glad to say that I had goten the 50% RO or 3ml lactic acid... thanks!

Given that it is an ale it should not have much problem with the high calcium and magnesium content of the water. But you may actually try both and see what you like better. I know that this might be more work than you wanted to do but it will give you an idea how to best deal with your water. Very good suggestion. I have two mash tuns and two pot/burners so I will make a couple of 2.5 gallon batches (and put them in 3 gallon carboys) and compare.

Given that your water is very high in temporary hardness (low sulfate and chloride compared to Ca, Mg and alkalinity) it should also respond very well to alkalinity reduction by boiling or lime treatment. The latter is used by many breweries but a bit more involved. Okay, now you lost me (I think). Does this mean that I could boil my strike water (and then let it cool to the correct temp) and that would help also? Would this mean that I would need less RO or lactic acid?

Kai

Thanks again Kai !!
Roger
-------------------------------
Keg#1: Honey Blonde
Keg#2: Jamil's Mild (dark)
Keg#3: Jamil's Nut Brown
Keg#4: Hefeweizen
Keg#5: Amber-Simple-Malty
Keg#6: empty
Fermenting: Moose Drool
Next: Dunkelweizen?

Online Kaiser

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 1797
  • Imperial Brewing Geek
    • View Profile
    • braukaiser.com
Re: Adjusting RA with Lactic - How much is too much?
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2009, 07:07:27 PM »
Given that your water is very high in temporary hardness (low sulfate and chloride compared to Ca, Mg and alkalinity) it should also respond very well to alkalinity reduction by boiling or lime treatment. The latter is used by many breweries but a bit more involved. Okay, now you lost me (I think). Does this mean that I could boil my strike water (and then let it cool to the correct temp) and that would help also? Would this mean that I would need less RO or lactic acid?

I don't want to overload you with water stuff so we won't discuss the lime treatment.

But when you boil your tap water you'll notice that you get a white precipitate (haze) which settles when the water stops boiling. That haze is actually calcium carbonate or chalk. And when in comes out of solution it takes some of the water's alkalinity and calcium with it. The remaining water will therefore be less alkaline and have less calcium in it. To what extend I don't know. But you'll have to rack the boiled water off the sediment to get the full benefit.

Although brewers may have done that a long time ago to soften alkaline water it has now been abandoned due to the high energy cost and because the addition of lime can do the same.

Dillution and/or acid should be your first approach for now. Once you get more comfortable with water threatment you may come back to the other techniques. 

Kai
Kai

Offline crabber

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 45
    • View Profile
Re: Adjusting RA with Lactic - How much is too much?
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2009, 08:38:26 PM »
At $1 a gallon, that adds $4 to each batch. :o
Sounds like you need to find a cheaper source of RO water.  I pay $.25/gal to refill my water bottles.

Offline ne-brewer

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 19
  • Aurora, NE
    • View Profile
Re: Adjusting RA with Lactic - How much is too much?
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2009, 08:56:56 PM »
Thanks again Kai ... I'll do the double batches and see how they turn out.

The help is much appreciated!
Roger
-------------------------------
Keg#1: Honey Blonde
Keg#2: Jamil's Mild (dark)
Keg#3: Jamil's Nut Brown
Keg#4: Hefeweizen
Keg#5: Amber-Simple-Malty
Keg#6: empty
Fermenting: Moose Drool
Next: Dunkelweizen?