Kegconnection Complete Starter Kit and More Giveaway!


Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Alkalinity and Lactic Acid

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 02-01-2011, 04:52 PM   #1
Moneyjacket
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Washington
Posts: 15
Default Alkalinity and Lactic Acid

My water report is as follows,
pH 7.4
Ca 30
Mg 10
Na 7
Cl 5
SO4-S 3, so 9 SO4
Bicarbonate 148
Alkalinity 122

My next planned brew is Biermunchers Centennial Blonde, which is a pretty light beer, beersmith says 3.6 SRM. I've been reading Ajdelange's posts here and it seems that he would tell me to dilute my water down to 20 Alkalinity or less. I'm wondering if just using lactic acid to lower my mash ph would be a suitable alternative since I would rather not buy water. According to estimations by ezwatercalculator, I would be adding 3ml of 88% to my mash to get it to 5.2, I will be checking with a meter. I also wonder if I should use the lactic acid to lower my sparge water from 7.4 to 6? Thanks in advance for any input.

-Money

__________________

Last edited by Moneyjacket; 02-01-2011 at 04:55 PM.
Moneyjacket is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-01-2011, 05:31 PM   #2
Nateo
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bennett Springs, MO
Posts: 2,055
Liked 36 Times on 29 Posts
Likes Given: 35

Default

I use lactic acid all the time to lower my mash pH. I lower my sparge to <5.8. Your water looks pretty good, and I agree it's a bit silly to buy water.

IIRC, Prof. Delange recommended brewing beer that works with your water, instead of making drastic contortions to make your water suitable. I agree in theory, but not enough to go out and buy water.

So the long and short of it is, will you need to acidify your mash? Yes. Will the beer turn out well even though your RA was a bit high? Yes. Will the beer be the best possible beer you could make? Probably not, but I wouldn't worry about it.

__________________

To paraphrase Dr. England - "Off-flavors smooth with time. So do mountains. Brew it right from the start!"

My blogsite: http://nateobrew.blogspot.com/

Nateo is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-01-2011, 06:07 PM   #3
ajdelange
Senior Member
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: McLean/Ogden, Virginia/Quebec
Posts: 5,661
Liked 537 Times on 440 Posts
Likes Given: 15

Default

It's fine to use acid to knock out alkalinity but there is a downside. Every milliequivalent of alkalinity you remove (this water has 122/50 = 2.4) is replaced by 1 milliequivalent of the anion of the acid you used. So if you knocked out all the alkalinity you'd replace the 2.4 mEq/L alkalinity with 2.4 mEq Lactate (same deal for sulfuric or hydrochloric). This should be kept in mind. Obviously everything is fine as long as you don't taste the lactate or dislike the effects of lots of chloride or sulfate.

The reason I advocate dilution with RO water so readily these days is that it is so readily available. Home RO units are sold at home improvement stores for a little over $100 and every supermarket and healthfood store seems to have an RO machine vending RO water for half a buck per gallon.

__________________
ajdelange is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-01-2011, 06:35 PM   #4
Moneyjacket
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Washington
Posts: 15
Default

Thanks for the reply's. Thats pretty much what I expected/hoped to hear. I read somewhere that lactic acid would sour the beer, but it wasn't too noticeable until you had around 2ml per gallon which I would be way below. I'm a little confused about mention of the affects of lots of chloride or sulfate since my water only has 5 and 9 ppm's, do bicarbonites or alkalynity contain those?. Eventually as my brewery gets more intense I will probably end up with a RO unit, but as of now I have pumps, conicals, grain mills,ferment chambers and such dominating the top of my wish list. It sounds like the lactic acid will be a big improvement, but ill fill up my 5 gal jug with some distilled water one of these days and brew a comparison batch as well. I really appreciate the advice.

-Money

__________________
Moneyjacket is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-01-2011, 06:48 PM   #5
ajdelange
Senior Member
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: McLean/Ogden, Virginia/Quebec
Posts: 5,661
Liked 537 Times on 440 Posts
Likes Given: 15

Default

What I meant was that if you use sulfuric acid to remove 2.4 meq/L alkalinity you will wind up with 2.4 meq/L sulfate in its place. This is 115 mg/L which would be enough to trash a delicate lager or helles. Also, if you use HCl to remove 2.4 meq/L you will replace it with 2.4 meq/L (85 mg/L) which some might find excessive but most would probably like.

__________________
ajdelange is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-01-2011, 07:11 PM   #6
SpanishCastleAle
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 4,384
Liked 29 Times on 29 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
...and every supermarket and healthfood store seems to have an RO machine vending RO water for half a buck per gallon.
FWIW, around here it's 25 cents per gallon so enough for an entire 5+ gal batch is ~$2.25. Since I do pay for my chloraminated tap water in both water AND sewage fees and would have to use campden anyway, for some of us using the store-bought RO isn't much if any more expensive.
__________________
Early brewers were primarily women, mostly because it was deemed a woman's job. Mesopotamian men, of some 3,800 years ago, were obviously complete assclowns and had yet to realize the pleasure of brewing beer.- Beer Advocate
SpanishCastleAle is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-01-2011, 07:38 PM   #7
Nateo
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bennett Springs, MO
Posts: 2,055
Liked 36 Times on 29 Posts
Likes Given: 35

Default

I live downtown so I don't need to own a car. 5 gallons of water is pretty darn heavy to carry on my bike, or the bus. So there is a practical component to my situation.

__________________

To paraphrase Dr. England - "Off-flavors smooth with time. So do mountains. Brew it right from the start!"

My blogsite: http://nateobrew.blogspot.com/

Nateo is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-01-2011, 08:13 PM   #8
Moneyjacket
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Washington
Posts: 15
Default

I see what you were saying now Aj, I suppose I will deal with the lactate rather than sulfate or chloride.
I pay a set amount per 3 months for my water, doesn't matter how much I use and it's not chlorinated. I live 25 minutes away from the nearest supermarket, so unless I want to pay 2.50 per gal of water at the little neighborhood store, it's about a 1 hour adventure to go get my 5 gal jug filled up. Though I could just throw it in the car and fill it up whenever I'm already in town. Mostly just a convenience thing, though I will definitely try the dilution method one of these days, always striving for that perfect beer.

__________________
Moneyjacket is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-01-2011, 08:52 PM   #9
PaulHilgeman
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 268
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

Default

I regulularly use 4ml in a 5 gal batch of all pilsner malt and it is so much easier and the taste is fine to me vs. diluting etc.

If I was going to do a bo-pils I would do it differently, but I much prefer north german pils.

__________________
PaulHilgeman is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-07-2011, 02:23 AM   #10
Kaiser
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Kaiser's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Pepperell, MA
Posts: 3,904
Liked 114 Times on 71 Posts
Likes Given: 4

Default

It's very common in German brewing to use lactic acid. I myself face used up to 4% acid malt in my recipes w/ a noticable sourness. In a 5 gal batch with 4kg of malt this is about 5g lactic acid. So 3 ml should be fine.

I actually think that all very light beers benefit from 2% acid malt just because their mash pH even in 0 residual alkalinity water is around 5.7-5.8.

A.J., is this something that matches your experience?

Kai

__________________
BrauKaiser.com - brewing science blog - Twitter - water and mash chemistry calculator
Kaiser is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Lactic Acid and Specific Gravity Bsquared Brew Science 6 05-09-2013 03:04 AM
How much lactic acid needs to be used before you can taste it? kal Brew Science 23 12-20-2011 07:32 PM
Adding Lactic Acid to Saison - When and how much? Oaklandgourmand Brew Science 4 09-25-2010 12:53 AM
pH and lactic acid sparge treatment hammacks Brew Science 7 05-07-2010 11:13 PM
How much Lactic acid ? Bru Brew Science 14 08-06-2009 11:40 PM