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Accidentally added lactic acid into my water before grains

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Gustatorian

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I accidentally added lactic acid with my salts/minerals into my water before grains. The pH dropped to 3.36. I'm assuming it will correct once the grains hit the water, but did I ruin my beer. Is there anything wrong with adding the acid to the water before the grains rather than after?
 

Redlantern

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How much Lactic acid did you use? It seems it would take a lot to get the pH down that low.
 

Braufessor

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If you added the correct amount of lactic acid/minerals to your batch, it should not matter at all that you added it to the water before putting in the grain..... I do that to every batch of beer I brew.
If you added too much... that is a different story possibly.

Water pH can drop very easily, very fast because there may not be anything in it to buffer the additions you added.
 
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How much water was the 5ml to, What style of beer, and what were your other mineral additions?
11.34 G with 5grams gypsum and 5grams CaCl2. Brewing a blonde on a no-sparge system, but planning on taking 2 gallons of the 11.34 and cold-sparging with it. Is it ok to use those 2 gallons in a sparge?
 
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It doesn't really matter the order you add the "ingredients", but I'd generally want to prepare my water before adding grains and starting the mash. Otherwise pure lactic would come into contact with some of the grain before it's mixed in.
 

ajdelange

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I accidentally added lactic acid with my salts/minerals into my water before grains. The pH dropped to 3.36. I'm assuming it will correct once the grains hit the water, but did I ruin my beer. Is there anything wrong with adding the acid to the water before the grains rather than after?
No, nothing at all. Of course the pH will drop dramatically because there are no grains in the water to absorb the acid. The amount of pH drop depends entirely on the alkalinity of the water in this case. You may, of course, be adding some of the lactic acid to remove this alkalinity. The fact that your pH went below 4.4 (the value to which alkalinity is measured) indicates that you are adding more than enough to remove the alkalinity and that, presumably, the rest is there to neutralize the alkalinity of the grains. When they are added in the pH will rise again to, we hope, the value you used to calculate your lactic addition.
 

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What AJ, said.^

If the amount of lactic acid was what your water calculator came up with, then that's what's needed. And best to add and mix in before the grains. Sparge water can be treated differently if you so choose.
 
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What AJ, said.^

If the amount of lactic acid was what your water calculator came up with, then that's what's needed. And best to add and mix in before the grains. Sparge water can be treated differently if you so choose.
Yes, per EZ water and Bru'N, it should bring be to an estimated 5.3 pH
 

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11.34 G with 5grams gypsum and 5grams CaCl2. Brewing a blonde on a no-sparge system, but planning on taking 2 gallons of the 11.34 and cold-sparging with it. Is it ok to use those 2 gallons in a sparge?
This all looks generally in the ball park and fine to me. AJ gave a good explanation of it.

You should be fine. Like I said - I always add my additions to the water and mix them in before adding grain.
 

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When I asked my question earlier about volume of acid, it was because I used the B'run water sparge acidification sheet and tried to make 11 gallons of distilled water come in at a pH of 3.5

It took 29ml.

Granted, I could have used the spreadsheet wrong, but it does still seem odd.
 

Braufessor

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When I asked my question earlier about volume of acid, it was because I used the B'run water sparge acidification sheet and tried to make 11 gallons of distilled water come in at a pH of 3.5

It took 29ml.

Granted, I could have used the spreadsheet wrong, but it does still seem odd.
29 ml of lactic acid (generally high % acid) or 29 ml of phosphoric (generally low % acid).

Could just be the concentration of the acid you were using was fairly low.
 

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Yes, per EZ water and Bru'N, it should bring be to an estimated 5.3 pH
Exactly! When you treat/mineralize your water, the impact on pH can be very high, since water by itself has very little buffering capacity, so huge swings can be expected from small additions. Once you add your grains, their buffering capacity is huge, and brings the pH to just the right level as was calculated for you.
 
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Exactly! When you treat/mineralize your water, the impact on pH can be very high, since water by itself has very little buffering capacity, so huge swings can be expected from small additions. Once you add your grains, their buffering capacity is huge, and brings the pH to just the right level as was calculated for you.
What about the water I pulled aside to cold-spare with? It's at the same pH. Will it effect anything or have the same reactions with the grain?
 

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That 2 gallons of cold sparge water maybe a bit too acidic, but it's also a very small amount given the amount of lautered grain you're adding it too, it will likely be OK. Sparge water acidification is customary to prevent extracting tannins. Keeping the pH of the sparging mash under 5.8 is recommended.

I always add all salts and whatever acid is needed to the strike water while it's heating. The sparge water only receives enough acid to keep each half of the batch sparge under pH 5.8. I'm sure there are more scientific ways of approaching that.
 

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I add all my acids and calcium chloride to the water before adding the grains. (I calculate how much to add, and I've never actually measured the pH. I should check it someday) I mix any gypsum into the dry grist. And I sparge with just RO water. It seems to work.

Your pH sounds a little low, but that just means you added enough acid to wipe out the buffering capacity of the water. The pH will rise when you add the grist -- unless you're using all Black Patent malt, roasted barley, and dark crystal ;)
 

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Yeah..... 29 ml of an 88% acid to 11 gallons of water seems like an extraordinary amount. I am generally adding 2-5ml to 10-11 gallons depending on beer... and that is only for light colored beer.
That said, I am using RO water generally. I suppose if you started with super alkaline water and were brewing a pale beer it might?????? call for a lot - but, 29ml still seems like a ton to me.
 
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FWIW, I hit my pH on the nose once the grain buffered the lactic acid. Efficiency seemed to not be phased, as well.
 

ajdelange

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Yeah..... 29 ml of an 88% acid to 11 gallons of water seems like an extraordinary amount. ... but, 29ml still seems like a ton to me.
Easy enough to WAG it. He's using a bit over 9 gal mash water - call it 35 L. If the alkalinity is 2 mEq/L (not uncommon) he'd need about 0.9*70 = 63 mEq for that. 88% lactic acid is about 11.8 N to mash pH so he's adding 29*11.8 = 342 mEq. With 63 going for the water that leaves 279 for the grains. Assuming a quart and a half per pound he's have about 36/1.5 = 24 lbs of grain which is 11.9, call it 12 kg. Assuming the malt has a DI pH of 5.7 and he wants 5.3 then he'd need approximately 40*12*.4 = 192 mEq for the grains assuming that they have buffering of -40 mEq/pH•kg. That's only 255 total so 342 does seem a lot unless the water's alkalinity were, say 4 mEq/L in which case the total requirement would be 192 + 126 = 328. But if the water were that alkaline he wouldn't want to be using acid to neutralize it.
 

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I simply do not have the education in water chemistry to understand that.

I can only plug the numbers into the spreadsheet

If I had distilled water that came in at say - 6.5pH, how much lactic acid at 88% strength (in ml) would it take to get to a pH of 3.25?
 

TheMadKing

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Easy enough to WAG it. He's using a bit over 9 gal mash water - call it 35 L. If the alkalinity is 2 mEq/L (not uncommon) he'd need about 0.9*70 = 63 mEq for that. 88% lactic acid is about 11.8 N to mash pH so he's adding 29*11.8 = 342 mEq. With 63 going for the water that leaves 279 for the grains. Assuming a quart and a half per pound he's have about 36/1.5 = 24 lbs of grain which is 11.9, call it 12 kg. Assuming the malt has a DI pH of 5.7 and he wants 5.3 then he'd need approximately 40*12*.4 = 192 mEq for the grains assuming that they have buffering of -40 mEq/pH•kg. That's only 255 total so 342 does seem a lot unless the water's alkalinity were, say 4 mEq/L in which case the total requirement would be 192 + 126 = 328. But if the water were that alkaline he wouldn't want to be using acid to neutralize it.

Officially the first time I've seen a WAG with math in it [emoji23].. You are a national treasure AJ!
 

ajdelange

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I simply do not have the education in water chemistry to understand that.
Oops. I've made the same mistake I have before and that is responding as if we were in the Brewing Science forum where I spend most of my time to the point that when I respond elsewhere I often forget that I'm not there. I would expect many, if not most, readers of that forum to understand what I posted and clearly some here do too as well.

I can only plug the numbers into the spreadsheet
That sort of says you aren't really interested in understanding further so I won't go into further explanation beyond saying that mEq/L is the natural way of expressing alkalinity. If you have alkalinity of 100 ppm as CaCO3 the lab analyst measured it by adding 2 mEq of acid to each liter of your water and then multiplied that by 50 to get the ppm as CaCO3.

When you add acid to the water you do so, in part, to neutralize the alkalinity. But you only need to neutralize 90% of it.

The strength of an acid is the number of mEq of acidity in each mL. For lactic acid of strength 88% by weight that is 11.8 mEq/mL which chemists write as 11.8 N.
 

Redlantern

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That sort of says you aren't really interested in understanding further so I won't go into further explanation beyond saying that mEq/L is the natural way of expressing alkalinity. If you have alkalinity of 100 ppm as CaCO3 the lab analyst measured it by adding 2 mEq of acid to each liter of your water and then multiplied that by 50 to get the ppm as CaCO3.

When you add acid to the water you do so, in part, to neutralize the alkalinity. But you only need to neutralize 90% of it.

The strength of an acid is the number of mEq of acidity in each mL. For lactic acid of strength 88% by weight that is 11.8 mEq/mL which chemists write as 11.8 N.
Not true at all. I struggle reading through books to get answers as words run together very fast, so I target items like this that I can absorb in small chunks. Put me in real world, hands on stuff and I can do it very well and learn it very fast. I see it once, I can do it. If I have to read an entire book, it is struggle to focus after a few pages.

Conversations like this are take in very well and appreciated far more than you know. It allows me to focus on what questions to ask so I can target necessary information and package it so I can work with it. Please don't take my admissions of shortcomings as lack of interest.
 

ajdelange

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In that case let me encourage you to look at the Brewing Science forum. There is lots and lots of stuff there and not all of it is correct but as time progresses many of the common misconceptions are fading. In any case it's in small, easily digestible chunks.
 
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