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acidulated malt v. lactic acid

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beerisyummy

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Does anyone out there think there's an advantage to using acidulated malt vs. just dumping some lactic acid in the mash? I have been doing the latter and it seems to me it makes all the calcs, particularly pH, a little more straightforward.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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Either (acidulated malt, lactic acid, phosphoric acid) will get the job done.

With acidulated malt, one doesn't need to store/handle a concentrated acid.

Some people prefer phosphoric acid over lactic acid (see Brewing Better Beer, chapter 7 (sour off flavor), but also note that every one tastes beer differently.

I have been doing the latter and it seems to me it makes all the calcs, particularly pH, a little more straightforward.
If the beer tastes good, I'll suggest that you keep doing what you're doing.

edits for wording / formatting / typeos :confused:
 
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Qhrumphf

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I prefer straight acid. While acidulated malt (the only one I've used is Weyermann, I'm not familiar with any other options) is MOSTLY consistent, every so often I'll use some that is widely more or less acidic than normal (and is directly correlated to a specific lot number).

Additionally, lactic acid is cheaper than acid malt.

The one pattern I've noticed that I have no hard and fast explanation for (though I have theories, and it could well be specific to my processes and not translate to others) is all else equal, using lactic acid vs acid malt (by replacing base malt with acid malt) to reach the same mash pH, acid malt seems to result in a slower climbing of pH during the sparge, while the use of straight acid sees about the same or slightly lower kettle pH pre-boil, despite the higher final sparge runnings. (Note that this is specifically if the mash is acidified but sparge water is not. If I acidify the sparge water it's a different scenario).
 
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Brooothru

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Just a few questions for ya'.

Lately I've been alternating between lactic acid in the strike water and acidulated in the grist. I've also mashed with acidulated and additionally added lactic pre-boil to correct the pH if too high (I do a full volume mash/no sparge). So far I've not noticed any acidic "twang" with either method, though I do have a favorable bias to tart tastes.

As a judge, do you find over-acidification in competition beers to be a common problem? Procedurally I target ~5.6 pH for mash and 5.0~5.2 pH pre-boil. The beers taste good (to me) and I brew to satisfy my preferences, but I'm curious if you find this to be a common flaw.

I've never worked with phosphoric (lactic is so benign to work with) but would it result in less of an acidic tartness? I never considered that acidulated malt would actually vary in pH from lot to lot. Do you find those data on the spec sheet? It's obviously easier to accurately calculate a targeted pH using an 88% lactic solution, which probably explains why my 10 minute mash pH check is sometimes way off when I use acidulated malt to set mash pH.

Brooo Brother
 

Qhrumphf

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Not that I've ever been blindly able to directly attribute as such. Been a few times where I've picked up lactate character and thought it was a possibility. But that could also be LAB contamination.
 

Qhrumphf

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And no, it's apparent just from use. Haven't had to bother checking COAs (though the info should be on there). I don't use acid malt at home (or in my bigger recipes with limited exceptions). But I use it a lot at work. Can see it plain as day in the log sheets when a new pallet of acid malt is cracked into and the pHs through the hot side go up or down. In one bigger instance I flagged it seeing the pH drop, had two lots on hand and ran a few batches with each and there was a 0.3 (give or take) pH difference from mash in to knock out. It's *usually* consistent. But some lots aren't.
 

Vale71

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Does anyone out there think there's an advantage to using acidulated malt vs. just dumping some lactic acid in the mash? I have been doing the latter and it seems to me it makes all the calcs, particularly pH, a little more straightforward.
It's exactly the same thing. Acidulated malt is Pilsner malt sprayes with lactic acid and then left to dry. The only real difference is that as there are lot variations in the actual acid content it makes hitting your target PH more of a hit-and-miss then when using concentrated lactic.
 

Queequeg

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I used acid malt as it's the most convenient. I weight out the grain bill the night before brew day, this avoids doing any in process pH adjustment of the mash. I acidify the sparge water with phosphoric acid also the night before, again saving time on brew day.

I normally target a mash pH of 5.2-5.3, this is compromise to adjust pre-boil pH. It works fine and keeps what is a complicated enough brew day for getting out of hand.

My mash pH is consistency is fine. I'm sure if I was making the same beer each time the acid malt wouldn't be the cause of any inconsistencies.

The key issue is to control you water mineral profile appropriately as to minimize the need for any acid adjustment.
 
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