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Old 02-11-2013, 12:41 AM   #1
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Default How much lactic acid would you use?

I moved my Raspberry Wheat Champagne Ale into secondary this weekend... in case you're wondering what the hell kind of beer that is, I'll list the specs below.

Anyway - I tossed the 3 gallon batch into secondary with about 4 lbs of frozen raspberries (I want BIG raspberry... the object is to make a beer that my non-beer drinking parents will enjoy) and some pectic enzyme.

Wanting a nice bite to the beer without a big hop flavor, I've opted to use lactic acid at bottling. I know the stuff is super-potent, so I'm wondering what a good amount to add to my 3 gallons would be.

I was thinking in the half teaspoon range, but I'm basing this on virtually nothing. Suggestions are very welcome!


The specs:

3/4 lb Corn Sugar (for alcohol and lightening)
~2 Wheat DME
~1.5 lbs Pilsner DME
1 oz Hallertaurer (60 min)
.5 oz Crystal (15 min)
Wyeast #1010


Measured Original Gravity: 1.054 SG
SG (after primary): 1.010 SG
Estimated ABV (after fruit fermentation): 6.5 - 7.0 %

Oh - and I'm calling it "champagne ale" because I intend to do a heavy carb on this one, resembling a champagne carb.

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Old 02-11-2013, 01:45 AM   #2
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Adding lactic acid beyong the perception threshold is bad. Can you measure the ph of your beer? How does it taste?

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Old 02-11-2013, 01:48 AM   #3
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I could grab some testing stips, I guess. I took a taste after my SG reading, but that was pre-raspberries. It tasted like a light wheat beer.

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Old 02-11-2013, 01:50 AM   #4
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Taste it again, see what you think. Add a drop of acid and see if you like it more.

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Old 02-11-2013, 02:00 AM   #5
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I'll give it a few days and do that. It's fermenting like crazy now. For the first couple days the 3 gallons in a 6 gallon bucket just had the telltale, nose-burn smell of CO2. Today, it's actually enough to get the airlock bubbling.

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Old 02-11-2013, 02:10 AM   #6
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Most fruit is pretty acidic on its own, although obviously there's tremendous variation. As Gabe suggested, once the yeast has finished eating the raspberries, you can pull out a small, measured sample and experiment. Just remember that carbed beer is noticeably more acidic than flat beer.

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Old 02-11-2013, 02:13 AM   #7
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After some reading and a little experimenting I've found that I can simulate a Berliner Weisse by adding roughly 10 ml. of 88% lactic acid from my LHBS to one gallon of any nice wheat beer at bottling. It gives it a nice sour bite without being overwhelming.
So for a 3 gallon batch you would use + or - 30 ml.
Just an example of amounts if it helps.

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Old 02-11-2013, 02:19 AM   #8
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Once raspberries ferment out, the resulting wine/beer is very tart and acidic. I would definitely taste it before adding any lactic acid. Tart is good, sour is not. Don't forget that carbonation adds a tart 'bite' to the beer as well. I think the beer will already be pretty tart, and wouldn't turn it into a sour beer if you want people to enjoy it.

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Old 02-15-2013, 12:47 AM   #9
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I took a taste tonight and you were absolutely right, it's plenty tart enough. In fact, I'd almost like to add some sweetness to it. Any thoughts on how to do this?

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Old 02-15-2013, 01:46 PM   #10
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Lactose at bottling, maybe?

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Primary 1: Empty
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Primary 4: Shred's Dark Mild
Primary 5: Shred's Australian Summer Wheat
Secondary 1: Nirvana on Cedar (a Utopias inspired brew)
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