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Old 08-13-2014, 09:03 PM   #11
And1129
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I had the same concerns about some of the acids I had available for use in beer. I have quite the science lab in my garage, but most of the acids I had were of technical or questionable grade, so I was hesitant to use even greatly diluted amounts of these acids in brewing. I had been using the small amount of dilute food grade phosphoric I was able to buy, but I don't really like using that because I don't know what effect it may have on my carefully adjusted calcium levels, and at the concentration I was buying it at, I was paying mostly for water anyways. I've also had a lot of success with using easily available food grade citric acid, and I really like using that acid, but I can't use it in every beer as the taste threshold can be high (it was a perfect choice for the sour beer i just brewed!).

Now i've really upgraded my acid strategy and supplies. I've "requisitioned" some high purity (>reagent grade) concentrated hydrochloric and sulfuric acids from my lab where we use them for ICP-MS analysis. From these relatively small amounts of concentrated acids, I will be able to make large volumes of dilute stock solutions of each that I can use to adjust pH levels and add either sulfate or chloride depending on beer style. These acids are so pure that I have no hesitation or question about any impurities being any kind of problem in any of my beers. Love me some acids...

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Old 08-13-2014, 09:55 PM   #12
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I had been using the small amount of dilute food grade phosphoric I was able to buy, but I don't really like using that because I don't know what effect it may have on my carefully adjusted calcium levels
This is not something you need worry about at mash pH unless the hardness of your water, as adjusted, is insane. There are some curves in the back of Palmer's book that will put numbers to this statement.

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I've also had a lot of success with using easily available food grade citric acid, and I really like using that acid, but I can't use it in every beer as the taste threshold can be high (it was a perfect choice for the sour beer i just brewed!).
Interesting. As I noted in an earlier post the use of citric acid was quite common in the infancy of home brewing but I haven't head of anyone actually using it since the days of Bravery's Best Stout.
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Old 08-14-2014, 12:04 AM   #13
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Citric is a great acid to use. It's a solid, it's food grade, cheap, good potency, not as dangerous as other acids. I used to use it a lot back in the days when i was less meticulous and measured in tablespoons rather than grams and a few of my beers tasted of citric acid sourness, so I stopped using it altogether apart from an occasional sour beer. These days I know more and measure much better, so I could probably get away with using it more often if i wanted, but IMHO and for my purposes, sulfuric is just such a better acid for brewing in so many ways that now i hardly use anything else.

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Old 08-14-2014, 12:26 AM   #14
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I'm reading that lemon juice is effectively ~5% citric acid. So perhaps for my next recipe that calls for a tiny bit of lime sourness (eg my Hoegaarden clone) I'll give lemon juice a bash for ph control!

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Old 08-14-2014, 12:32 AM   #15
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I actually used straight lemon juice in a beer a few batches ago. The only reason I did was that I was brewing a 100% organic beer, so really had to improvise. The problem with lemon juice is that each lemon will have a slightly different amount of juice and at a different concentration of citric acid. I measured a pH of about 2.1 for the lemon juice I squeezed. I also had to add a fair amount of juice and had to check the pH every 10 minutes of the mash which sucked. Not an ideal solution, but it can work...

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Old 08-14-2014, 10:25 PM   #16
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Great observations, thanks.

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