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Old 03-03-2013, 03:18 PM   #1
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Default Effect of acidulated malt on the flavor of my beer

I have very alkaline water (Bicarbonate - 241) and I know I should be using RO or Distilled but right now those are not an option for me, so I am trying to do the best I can with what I have.

I am using the Brunwater spreadsheet and I think I have a pretty good handle on it. Basically I am comfortable with my water adjustments but I have to acidify my mash to bring the PH down to 5.2. According to the spreadsheet I need to add 1lb of acid malt to do that.

1lb of acid malt is 7% of my grist and I am concerned that it is going to impart a very sour flavor to my APA. The only other acid I have on hand is citric acid. I have never brewed with acid malt before but after tasting the grain I found it really sour.

Any thoughts?



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Old 03-03-2013, 03:30 PM   #2
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Think lemonade .. the scientists will be cringing here but there's truth to it as analogies go. You need to get a certain pH and the bicarb will be "eating up" whatever acid you add - the sugar in your lemonade. You get to a certain tartness (pH in this analogy) and it may take more or less depending how much sugar you have. When you get there you will not be more sour because you added more lemon juice, you added enough to get the right tartness. You needed it for that balance vs the sugar. pH is the same way.

If you really need 7% saurmalz to get your pH to where you need it then it's not going to be more sour than if you only needed 2%. What it will do however is begin to impart the saurmalz flavor (lemon flavor in our analogy) more assertively. Now what that is and what it may do to your APA I can't say but it will not be more sour - that I can say pretty comfortably.

So ... not even a few gallons of store-bought distilled?



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Old 03-03-2013, 03:37 PM   #3
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Thanks Lee. Very nice analogy. Unfortunately I am stuck at home with no way to get to a store. My main concern was I was going to have a sour APA but it doesn't sound like it is the case. I have an RO system which is next on the list of brewery upgrades. Just have to let the price of the kegging system wear off on the SWMBO!

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Old 03-03-2013, 03:44 PM   #4
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Post your water profile. You might be able to reduce alkalinity with boiling.

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Old 03-03-2013, 03:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Post your water profile. You might be able to reduce alkalinity with boiling.

Kai
Calcium (ppm) Magnesium (ppm) Sodium (ppm) Sulfate (ppm) Chloride (ppm) Bicarbonate (ppm)
56 25 7 10 20 241

Thanks for taking a look.
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Old 03-03-2013, 04:40 PM   #6
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Boiling would help with your water but you would need to add calcium salts (calcium chloride or gypsum) to offset the calcium that is precipitated with the carbonate when the water is boiled.

But what does your timeline look like? Boiling and the necessary settling of the precipitate would add at least 2 hrs and you want to brew today.

Instead I would not shoot for a pH as low as 5.2. This is at the lower end of the desirable range. Instead I would shoot for 5.4 which will not require that much acid malt.

What's the color or grist of your APA? For your water and a beer with about 10 SRM I need only 2% acid malt to get to a pH of 5.4. It could be that Brun Water's acid malt calculations are too aggressive and you are worrying for no reason.

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Old 03-03-2013, 04:57 PM   #7
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Here is your water and a grist that makes a 10 SRM beer in the Brewer's Friend Calculator:

http://www.brewersfriend.com/mash-chemistry-and-brewing-water-calculator/?id=Y5RLFKJ

When I add only 2% acid malt I get a pH of 5.4 and with 5% I get to 5.2. But I don't think you should push it to 5.2.

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Old 03-03-2013, 04:59 PM   #8
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Thanks for your analysis. Yes, I have to brew today. I am also not sure if I have enough propane to boil and extra hour or two. The SRM is 10. When I change the Brunwater mash acidification for 5.4 ph i need 8oz of acid malt so I think I will do that. Is it your opinion that the acid malt will hurt the flavor of the APA?

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Old 03-03-2013, 05:02 PM   #9
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phuff7129 View Post
Thanks for your analysis. Yes, I have to brew today. I am also not sure if I have enough propane to boil and extra hour or two. The SRM is 10. When I change the Brunwater mash acidification for 5.4 ph i need 8oz of acid malt so I think I will do that. Is it your opinion that the acid malt will hurt the flavor of the APA?
Assuming this is a 5 gal batch I get a mash pH prediction of ~5.3 for 8 oz of acid malt. It's only 4% of the grist and I think you should be fine.

Are you able to test mash pH? I would be interesting to see where your mash pH actually ends up given the rather large discrepancy between the Brewer's Friend calculator and Brun' Water.

Kai


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