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Old 05-30-2012, 05:44 PM   #1
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Default How to fix too much lactic acid

I recently brewed an American Wheat beer and had some issues with high pH in the mash. I used 88% lactic acid to bring it down but now I realize I've exceed the flavor threshold. The beer was moved to keg on Monday and the first taste is too tart. I'm looking for suggestions on how to hide or accentuate the sour flavor.

My first thought was a pseudo Sam Adams summer ale attempt using lemon zest and grains of paradise but how can I do this after it is in the keg?

Other ideas?

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Old 05-30-2012, 07:13 PM   #2
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There are two parts to the flavor impact. The first is the acidity and the second is the taste of the lactate ion. You can neutralize the acidity with a bit of chalk added to the beer. But that still leaves the lactate untouched. I don't think you can fix that component.

How were you figuring out how much acid to use in the first place? Did you have a water report for your water? Bru'n Water has the tools you need, but you need to know what the water is before starting.

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Old 05-30-2012, 07:20 PM   #3
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How much lactic acid did you use?

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Old 06-03-2012, 02:50 PM   #4
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I use RO-DI water and was flying by the seat of my pants with the additions. I took a pH reading and then added some lactic acid. Took the reading again and there was almost no change.. added more and again almost no change. On the third addition the pH jumped down.. guess I wasn't stirring the mash well. In total I would guess 2+ Tablespoons of 88% were added for a 10g batch.

Since this post I have added apricot flavor to one of the kegs and I must say the taste isn't too bad. Even the wife enjoyed it. It was having problems clearing so I also added some gelatin. This might just turn out okay.

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Old 06-03-2012, 03:53 PM   #5
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I've started using Phosphoric Acid instead of lactic.

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Old 06-04-2012, 01:31 PM   #6
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Stirring may not have been the issue. This is the way pH behaves in water with high temporary hardness. It will come down slowly or not at all then "click" it will move by a large amount.

Also you used 30+ ml. That is a lot of lactic acid for a 10 gallon batch. Using RO/DI water with a typical American Wheat grain bill your pH shouldn't have been terribly high. In fact, I'm surprised it would be out of the typical 5.2 - 5.7 range. You may want to calibrate and check your pH measuring device.

Getting your pH correct in the mash is yet another step to becoming a fantastic brewer however it really isn't a deal breaker.

For example, if I come in high or low on a recipe I've brewed for the first time, I'll dump in a conservative amount of chalk or lactic. I then stir, wait a bit and pull a sample. That's it, I'm done for the day regardless of how the number changes. I just make a note of the original pH and the pH after I attempted to correct. Then the next time I brew that beer (if ever) I will make all those additions right up front (plus a bit more if my initial correction was a bit short.)

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Old 06-06-2012, 02:59 AM   #7
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Good points. I need to start being a little more methodical.

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Old 06-06-2012, 03:04 AM   #8
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Honestly, a bit of lactic acid bite in a wheat beer is not the worst thing that could happen. In fact, it's a pretty nice thing IMO. If you can enjoy it and didn't brew it specifically for competition, I'd say just leave it.

Try using phosphoric acid in the future. Pretty tasteless, and I've found it to be significantly cheaper as well.

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Old 09-13-2012, 01:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morning_Dew View Post
You may want to calibrate and check your pH measuring device.
You were correct, the calibration was off by pH1. I now keep my meter stored in the proper solution and test it at pH7 & 4 before each batch. I now can really see the value in this instrument.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:59 PM   #10
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I have pretty alkaline water, for which I dilute with RO water. Even on a very light pilsner, I've never needed more than 3 mL of 88% lactic. I would get your self a pipette of some sort to accurately measure additions. I really like using Lactic. It works well and I have yet to taste it in a brew. EZWaterCalculator that is linked in this forum is an excellent tool to estimate how much lactic you might need.

If this is in a wheat, I'd call yourself lucky and enjoy it. I like tart/slightly sour wheats (I used WY3333 usually).

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