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Old 10-12-2013, 03:07 PM   #21
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Found it a little peculiar how little "acidulated malt" comes up (had to look hard to find it!)
I'm curious why you feel this way? What more could be added? Acidulated malt is an acid delivery mechanism. I believe there are discussions on acidification.
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Old 10-12-2013, 04:33 PM   #22
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Martin,

Having concentrated intensely on the trees in this book as we have done it will probably be some time before we can see the forest. I just had a look at the 'Controlling Alkalinity' chapter and acid malt didn't even get a mention. Nor is it in the index as Acid Malt, Sauermalz, acidulated malt. It is listed under Malt, Sauer but following that lead only informs you that it is made by adding lactic acid or sauergut to malt and that it is, consequently, even more acidic than colored malts.

I think the guy has a point. Note for 2nd Edition.

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Old 10-12-2013, 07:36 PM   #23
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Thanks aj, that was my point.

As a practical brewer looking for the useful lessons, I skipped to the first example, "Brewing an American Pale Ale" in the Adjusting Water section. This example was a great idea. But to reduce the mash pH, he first walks through TWO options of adjusting minerals to hit the target alkalinity. AAAGGGHHH!!! This improper thinking is a sad remnant of his obsolete RA nomograph mentality. (I maintain we should address pH by adding acid/acid malt, and treat mineral content as a taste issue, but sadly I don't think Palmer takes this approach.) Then his 3rd option describes adding sulfuric acid! That's a pretty uncommon and potentially dangerous technique.

So unfortunately there's not much simplified discussion of how we as homebrewers can use this info. Overall it leaves the impression that you should try to hit your mash pH with mineral adjustments or liquid acid additions (see also App. B), neither of which are great advice for a homebrewer IMHO.

p.s. aj, please don't take this as criticism. Only intended as constructive commentary & feedback.

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Old 10-12-2013, 07:56 PM   #24
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The first mention that I have come across or noticed, was in the "adjusting water for style" section which falls after the Residual Alkalinity section. It is mentioned as a method practiced by German brewers to address the Renheitsgebot - but briefly. I suppose as this section is primarily focused on ion additions and some (I believe) excellent information on the flavor profiles of these additions, it is passed over. This, along with the Declaration of Non-Adherence, tips the bias toward modern, not traditional brewing principles. I have no beef with this personally, but some people who wish to brew to historic (where possible) guidelines and procedure may be disappointed.

SpeedYellow: I cannot come to your same conclusion, yet. A good deal of information is being presented about the flavor thresholds of acids and minerals (currently in Chapt 7). Since a specific process recommendation has yet to been declared, I am assuming P&K are simply being thorough, and exploring process and chemistry - rather than taking a more "recipe" standard approach. BTW I agree with you relative to adjusting water for flavor first, then making accommodations to pH.

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Old 10-13-2013, 12:15 AM   #25
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I finished reading "Water" today (I skipped most of chapter 10 since I don't find waste water treatment as pertinent to my homebrewing). Before reading the book I have been a user of Bru'n Water and have adjusted my mash and sparge water with phosphoric acid based on my recipes and current water report. Has reading this book significantly changed how I brew? No. Has this book significantly changed how I think about brewing water? Yes. I think that I have a better understanding of why my water and grain bills give the results that they do and enough details were provided that I could write up my own basic brewing water calculator if I desired.

For homebrewers who are only interested in hitting mash pH and are not interested in the "details," this book may be of less value. I would recommend using up to date analysis of their source water (or building from RO) and using one of the available calculators like Bru'n Water.

SpeedyYellow: I have to disagree. Adjusting minerals and acid additions (phosphoric or lactic) are solid ways for homebrewers to adjust water. For most homebrewers, I think acidulated malt is an inferior option to liquid acid additions. Among the benefits of liquid acid additions: generally cheaper, can be used in sparge water, and does not require modification of grain bills.

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Old 10-13-2013, 11:33 AM   #26
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This improper thinking is a sad remnant of his obsolete RA nomograph mentality. (I maintain we should address pH by adding acid/acid malt, and treat mineral content as a taste issue, but sadly I don't think Palmer takes this approach.)
I think he is coming around to this way of thinking but slowly. He still believes in the RA approach and in discussions with him during the editing phase he made it quite clear that RA would be given significant space.

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Then his 3rd option describes adding sulfuric acid! That's a pretty uncommon and potentially dangerous technique.
It is actually quite common in the UK where commercial and home brewers use a blend of sulfuric and hydrochloric acids sold as Carbonate Reducing Solution (CRS). A brewer must set pH and then may make flavor ion adjustments. Judicious use of hydrochloric and sulfuric acid can do both. I never advise home brewers to do that because of potential safety problems but remember this book is aimed at the commercial brewer as well.

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So unfortunately there's not much simplified discussion of how we as homebrewers can use this info. Overall it leaves the impression that you should try to hit your mash pH with mineral adjustments or liquid acid additions (see also App. B), neither of which are great advice for a homebrewer IMHO.
There are lots of ways to accomplish these goals. I don't personally feel that mineral addition is a very good way to control mash pH because it takes so much calcium to offset a fairly modest amount of alkalinity that the resulting beer is going to be laden with sulfate and chloride ions. I don't personally feel that throwing acid at alkalinity is the best thing to do either for the same reason. Both methods essentially give you the same result: anions of the acid(s) or salt(s) as the calcium presumably precipitates when salts are used. But it is a valid method if you are happy with the resulting ion content.

A popular alternative is to use phosphoric acid. The phosphate ions seem to be quite flavor neutral and whatever their flavor contribution might be it is going to be swamped by the malt's phosphate. Plus it is available at any LHBS in food grade and in concentration where it isn't going to hurt any one.

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p.s. aj, please don't take this as criticism. Only intended as constructive commentary & feedback.
Don't worry about that. It isn't my book. I didn't write it (except for the Foreward). I would have done a lot of things differently and discussed many of those with John and Colin. In some cases they followed what I suggested and in some they didn't. I'm sure Martin would say the same.
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Old 10-13-2013, 02:25 PM   #27
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AJ hits it on the head. It isn't our book. However, my hat is off to Colin and especially John for taking the time and effort to write it. I won't speak for AJ, but I certainly don't have the time to devote to creating such a work.

Mineral addition is a poor way to achieve a mash pH, but the highly mineralized conditions for a good pale ale are an outlier. It may be one of the only cases where mineral additions might be suited for adjusting mash pH. For most other beer styles, acid in some form is far better for pH adjustment. I agree that acid malt can be suitable, but I still don't like the degree of imprecision it can impart to the acidification process. Forgive me, I'm an anal-retentive engineer. The reinheitsgebot is a personal preference for some brewers, just like kosher, halal, or vegan is to others. To each, his own.

The point that rpkincaid makes regarding sparging water acidification is a component that should not be overlooked. While acid malt can solve problems in the mash, high alkalinity sparging water could still ruin your brew. Pre-boiling the sparging water can help out some waters, but acidification with a liquid acid is much easier.

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Old 10-13-2013, 06:28 PM   #28
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The reinheitsgebot is a personal preference for some brewers, just like kosher, halal, or vegan is to others. To each, his own.
I don't really understand the anti-reinheitsgebot thing in the homebrew scene. The same people who wear the "reinheitsgebot is a 4 letter word" t shirts are usually the same people who subscribe to strict BJCP style definitions and look down on non-malt adjuncts like corn and rice. No one has ever complained that my dunkels had adjusted water and were force carbed but I have been told my dry hopped ordinary bitter was not to style

Ok, so he is still all about the residual alkalinity. How about the classic brewing cities? Does the book still persist the idea that Dublin's water profile is great for brewing stouts? He has mentioned it a in a few recent interviews.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:27 PM   #29
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I just read through that section and don't recall Dublin being called out.

There is a list of recommended profiles for beer styles, and a list of city profiles. It is preceded with several paragraphs of "take this with a grain of salt" qualifications. I found the case studies interesting, bit a bit confusing as the calculations seems to spin toward different RA models... And the "Brew a different beer" option that seems to be counter to the book's purpose. The profiles seem more or less consistent with the discussions here.

They invoked the sulfate/chloride ratio as only as a guideline, not a hard rule. Clearly stated that the actual amounts and concentration are more important.

Hey I did see a specific recommendation to use Bru'n water, rather than Palmer's water spreadsheet!

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Old 10-14-2013, 04:39 AM   #30
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I don't understand why people would be perturbed that there is no focus on aciduated malt. Is there any difference between using aciduated malt and adding acid into mash yourself? (assuming you can accurately measure acid to the nearest 0.5 ml)

In my mind it is better to focus on the first principle which is the acid itself and not worry about the grain coming along for the ride in aciduated malt. Am I missing something?

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