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Old 08-08-2012, 03:07 AM   #1
JerryD
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Default Has anyone use sulfuric acid for mash acidification?

I am using Brun Water to calculate water adjustments and it seems that a good solution for a Wheat IPA All Grain recipe I am working on would be to use Sulfuric Acid for the mash acidification because it will add sulfates which my water greatly lacks for a somewhat hoppy bear.

My first question is whether anyone has used sulfuric acid to good effect? Secondly, where do you get it?

I can not seem to find a food grade sulfuric acid that comes in a small quantity, say 4 oz. bottle. I don't want a litter of the stuff. Any ideas???

Thanks,

JerryD

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Old 08-08-2012, 12:40 PM   #2
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Good luck with that. Sulfuric acid is a strong and fuming acid that can be quite dangerous if not handled properly. The best way to handle it safely is to only use relatively dilute sulfuric acid so that the fume potential is reduced. There is an English product called CRS that includes equal parts of hydrochloric and sulfuric acids at a relatively dilute strength. I haven't seen it in the US, so I can't comment further on it.

Use only food-grade acid since its too easy for an acid to be contaminated with heavy metals.

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Old 08-08-2012, 01:19 PM   #3
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What about food grade Phosphoric acid?

http://www.amazon.com/Food-Grade-Pho...I1N0PQTK5MJLH0

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Old 08-09-2012, 12:22 AM   #4
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Don't use sulfuric acid. I wouldn't use phosporic either. They are too strong of acids, even though the latter is diluted. Why not use acid malt? That is sprayed with lactic acid and can effectively reduce pH. How much do you need to drop the pH?

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Old 08-09-2012, 12:23 AM   #5
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Don't use sulfuric acid. I wouldn't use phosporic either. They are too strong of acids, even though the latter is diluted. Why not use acid malt? That is sprayed with lactic acid and can effectively reduce pH. How much do you need to drop the pH?
Phosphoric acid is actually a great choice. It comes in 10% and 88% strengths, and I'm going to buy the 88% when my 10% is gone, so I can add less.
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:53 AM   #6
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Phosphoric acid is actually a great choice. It comes in 10% and 88% strengths, and I'm going to buy the 88% when my 10% is gone, so I can add less.
Yeah, phosporic is a strong acid, but if you don't handle it properly, you will get burned (literally and figuratively). Both sulfuric and phosphoric are very strong acids and can cause some serious damage. I've handled both acids over the years in industrial strength (chemical reactions) and have seen bad things happen for those that don't handle them properly. I would suggest sticking with the weaker acids that will accomplish what you want but won't be difficult to handle.
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:33 AM   #7
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why wouldn't you just use citric?

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Old 08-09-2012, 02:04 AM   #8
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why wouldn't you just use citric?
Because of the flavor impact. In very small amounts, there may not be a flavor impact (same with lactic acid) but in larger amounts they would impact the flavor of the beer.

Phosphoric acid is safe (with some common sense) and doesn't cause calcium to drop out.

Here's my favorite "short and sweet" (relatively) information on mash pH and manipulation: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php...ash_pH_control Go down about 1/2 way for a little comparison chart of the acids commonly used for adjusted mash pH. At the very bottom is my "cheat sheet" that I put in my brewery so that I can adjust mash pH on the fly by looking at the chart and adding the correct amount of lactic or phosphoric acid.
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:55 AM   #9
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Actually, phosphoric acid is not really a strong acid. It has more in common with weak acids than it does with strong acids. Also, this is the acid used in starsan and it is commonly used in buffer systems. I believe a diluted solution would be safe to use but be careful about overshooting the pH. I would never let sulfuric acid, which IS a very strong acid, to come anywhere near my brew system.

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Old 08-09-2012, 01:19 PM   #10
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why wouldn't you just use citric?
Citric and Lactic acids are suitable for use in brewing applications. Its just that those acids can impart their flavor signature when added at higher concentration. What that 'higher' concentration is, is dependent upon the taster. But, it is common that these acids will add more flavor than a more neutral acid like phosphoric per milliequivalent of acid power.

For those brewing a beer that could benefit from the citric flavor of citric acid (maybe a Wit or a Wheat?), then the use of that acid may be desirable. In a cleaner beer style like a Pilsner, it could be overwhelming. Choose wisely.

Even a 'weak' acid like lactic acid can be hazardous to sensitive things like eyes, noses, and mouth. So care is always required. I suggest that strong and fuming acids like hydrochloric or sulfuric are particularly hazardous since those fumes can enter lungs and really hurt people.

Be careful with any acid or base. They can seriously hurt you.
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