Homemade AMS_Like/CRS_Like Acid Blend Solution

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Larry Sayre, Developer of 'Mash Made Easy'
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As retail AMS (known commercially as CRS) is only available (to my knowledge) within the UK, I offer (with due trepidation and warning) this method whereby to make a 1 Liter volume of what should (see disclaimer) be a functional equivalent.

HAZARD WARNINGS & CAUTION: Only undertake this extremely hazardous and potentially permanently maiming, disfiguring, blinding, lung damaging to destroying, and life threatening project if you both fully know what you are doing when handling fully saturation point concentrated acids and are properly attired in advance in fully suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) known to be completely adequate to the task. Never under any circumstances add water to any concentrated acid!!! I Repeat: Never under any circumstances add water to any concentrated acid!!!

DISCLAIMER:
I've done the math for the equivalence, but I could easily be in error in so doing, so therefore you must verify, verify, verify!!! No warranties or guarantees or safety assurances are either expressed or implied.

Steps to produce 1 Liter:

1) Suit up in "FULLY" adequate PPE. Read (at a very minimum) all of the above listed hazard/caution warnings plus the disclaimer.
2) Add 700-750 mL (min-max) of room temperature deionized water, or very good distilled water, or exceptionally good RO water to a well cleaned and rinsed 1 Liter (1,000 mL) Pyrex Glass Erlenmeyer Flask. A lot of heat will potentially be evolved, so the flask must be made of Pyrex (or a Pyrex equivalent Borosilicate based low thermal expansion) Glass.
3) Add precisely 50 mL of concentrated food grade 98.00% Sulfuric Acid (H2SO4) solution to the water containing flask and stir with a Pyrex glass stirring rod. Allow to cool to room temperature.
4) Next add precisely 150 mL of concentrated food grade 37.20% Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) solution to the Erlenmeyer Flask and stir with a Pyrex glass stirring rod. Allow to cool to room temperature.
5) Next, carefully 'make up' the volume in the Erlenmeyer Flask to precisely the 1 Liter line via the addition of the same high purity room temperature water source used in step #1 above. Stir with a Pyrex glass stirring rod.
6)) When fully cooled to room temperature, store in an acid safe dispensing container with an adequate seal whereby to prevent evaporation. Use only with adequate ventilation and PPE and all due caution and safety.

Moderators: Please feel completely free to delete this if you deem the hazards and liabilities to be too great.
 
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Larry Sayre, Developer of 'Mash Made Easy'
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In case you were wondering, in a perfect world, the above process results in a solution with an acid strength of a calculated 3.6553 mEq/mL. And since both H2SO4 and HCl are strong acids that fully dissociate in water at nigh on any pH, this very same acid strength is uniformly sustained across all practical pH's.

This uniformity of acid strength across changing pH environments is not something that occurs for weak acids such as Lactic, Phosphoric, Citric, and many (and in fact, most) others. For the weak acids, their mEq/mL acid strength varies depending upon the pH of their local environment (such as for within a Mash). The trend is to become variably weaker in acid strength as the pH of their environment decreases (and visa-versa).

The closest 'commonly available' weak acid solution in acid strength to AMS/CRS (when in a local environment of specifically 5.40 pH) is 30% Phosphoric Acid, with a calculated pH 5.40 acid strength of 3.6670 mEq/mL at room temperature.
 
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At specifically a targeted pH of 5.30 the mEq/mL Acid Strength of 30% Phosphoric Acid is identical to that of AMS/CRS when rounded to the 4th decimal place. This is the only pH at which the two can be considered for all practical purposes to be precisely equivalent.

At a targeted pH of 2.00 the acid strength of 30% Phosphoric Acid is 1.478 mEq/mL.
At a targeted pH of 3.00 the acid strength of 30% Phosphoric Acid is 3.158 mEq/mL.
At a targeted pH of 5.00 the acid strength of 30% Phosphoric Acid is 3.631 mEq/mL.
At a targeted pH of 7.00 the acid strength of 30% Phosphoric Acid is 4.992 mEq/mL.
At a targeted pH of 10.00 the acid strength of 30% Phosphoric Acid is 7.239 mEq/mL.
At a targeted pH of 12.00 the acid strength of 30% Phosphoric Acid is 8.398 mEq/mL.
At a targeted pH of 14.00 the acid strength of 30% Phosphoric Acid is 10.768 mEq/mL.

At all of the above listed pH targets the acid strength of AMS/CRS remains relatively close to 3.655 mEq/mL.

At a targeted pH of 2.00 the acid strength of 88% Lactic Acid is 0.160 mEq/mL.
At a targeted pH of 3.00 the acid strength of 88% Lactic Acid is 1.429 mEq/mL.
At a targeted pH of 5.00 the acid strength of 88% Lactic Acid is 10.986 mEq/mL.
At a targeted pH of 7.00 the acid strength of 88% Lactic Acid is 11.773 mEq/mL.
At a targeted pH of 10.00 the acid strength of 88% Lactic Acid is 11.782 mEq/mL.
At a targeted pH of 12.00 the acid strength of 88% Lactic Acid is 11.791 mEq/mL.
At a targeted pH of 14.00 the acid strength of 88% Lactic Acid is 12.649 mEq/mL.
 
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I used to think that AMS/CRS is equi-normal at 1.83N H2SO4 and 1.83N HCl, until someone on a UK forum tipped that they add 5 Winchesters of 98% H2SO4 and 15 Winchesters of 37.2% HCl to water that is 'made up' to a final volume of 100 Winchesters. A Winchester in modern parlance equals 2.5 Liters.

So with this tip in hand, what are the individual Normalities (and thereby mEq's)?

Let's begin with 150 mL of 37.2% HCl made up to 1 Liter:

Givens:
MW of HCl = 36.46094 g./mol
Density of 37.2% HCl = 1.1847 g./mL
Charge = 1 (because HCl has only 1 H+ ion that it can liberate)
EQWt = 36.46094 g./EQ (because the charge is 1)

150 mL x 1.1847 g/mL = 177.705 grams total (acid plus water)
177.705 g. x 37.20% = 66.10626 grams of HCl
66.10626 g. / 36.46094 g./EQ = 1.813071 EQ's
Final volume = 1 Liter
1.813071 EQ's / 1 Liter = 1.813071 EQ/L = 1.813071 mEq/mL
Answer = 1.813071 mEq/mL acid strength as HCl

Now let's look at 50 mL of 98% H2SO4 made up to 1 Liter:

Givens:
MW of H2SO4 = 98.07848 g./mol
Density of 98% H2SO4 = 1.8437 g./mL
Charge = 2 (because H2SO4 has 2 H+ ions that it can liberate)
EQWt = 98.07848/2 = 49.03924 g./EQ (because the charge is 2)

50 mL x 1.8437 g./mL = 92.185 grams total (acid plus water)
92.185 g. x 98% = 90.3413 grams of H2SO4
90.3413 g. / 49.03924 g./EQ = 1.842225 EQ's
Final volume = 1 Liter
1.842225 EQ's / 1 Liter = 1.842225 EQ/L = 1.842225 mEq/mL
Answer = 1.842225 mEq/mL acid strength as H2SO4

Acid Strength = 1.813071 (as HCl) + 1.842225 (as H2SO4) = 3.655296 mEq/mL for the blended acids

Almost equi-normal, but not quite. But the manufacturing convenience as to the use of only full Winchester measures overrides the minor normality discrepancies.
 
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Next up: What are the 'nominal' mg/L (ppm) contributions as to Cl- and SO4--? Anyone want to tackle this one?
 
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Why are there no home brewing suppliers offering a certified food grade Phosphoric Acid at 30% concentration? To me this seems like a far more practical overall choice for Phosphoric Acid than the widely available 10% watered down product currently offered. I realize that there is good profit in selling water, but ...

And why is there no commercially available functional equivalent to AMS/CRS available within the USA? Just making it fully equinormal at 1.83N HCl and 1.83N H2SO4 would likely be adequate to circumvent any Patent claim, if such even exists.
 
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Murphy & Son Technical Information Sheet: AMS - Liquor Treatment
35ml of AMS per hl of this water reduces the alkalinity by 64 mg/litre (ppm) and
increases chloride levels by 22.5 mg/litre (ppm) and sulphate levels by 31 mg/litre (ppm).

For 98% Sulphuric Acid:
MW_SO4_Anion = 96.0626 g/mol
MW_H2SO4 = 98.07848 g/mol
Density = 1.8437 g./mL

50 mL * 1.8437 g/mL * 0.98 * 96.0626/98.07848 = 88.48445 mg/mL (ppm) SO4-- ion

35 mL delivered * 88.48445 mg/mL = 3,096.95575 mg SO4-- delivered into 1 hectoliter

3,096.95575 mg / 100 Liters per hL = 30.9695575 mg/L (ppm) SO4--

Murphy says 31 mg/L (ppm) : Computation of our homemade solution says 30.9695575 mg/L (ppm)

Conclusion: Same

For 37.20% Hydrochloric Acid:
MW_Cl_Anion = 35.4530 g/mol
MW_HCl = 36.46094 g/mol
Density = 1.1847 g./mL

150 mL * 1.1847 g/mL * 0.3720 * 35.4530/36.46094 = 64.27879 mg/mL (ppm) Cl- ion

35 mL delivered * 64.27879 mg/mL = 2,249.75765 mg Cl- delivered into 1 hectoliter

2,249.75765 mg / 100 Liters per hL = 22.4975765 mg/L (ppm) Cl-

Murphy says 22.5 mg/L (ppm) : Computation of our homemade solution says 22.4975765 mg/L (ppm)

Conclusion: Same
 
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As to the Alkalinity (as CaCO3), Murphy says 35 mL of AMS added to 1 hL of water will reduce its Alkalinity by 64 mg/L (ppm).

The homemade acid solution calculates to an acid strength of 3.655296 mEq/mL, as seen in the first post to this thread.

MW CaCO3 = 100.0689 g./mol
Charge on the 'Ca' cation = 2
EQW of CaCO3 = 100.0689/2 = 50.04345 g./EQ = 50.04345 mg./mEq

64 mg/L / 50.04345 mg./mEq = 1.27889 mEq/L Alkalinity (as CaCO3)

1.27889 mEq/L x 100 L = 127.889 mEq Alkalinity (as CaCO3)

127.889 mEq / 3.655296 mEq/mL = 34.9873 mL of our homemade solution required to be added

Murphy says 35 mL required : Our solution computes to 34.9873 mL required

Conclusion: Same
 
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Each mL of our homemade blended acid solution delivers:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
88.48445 mg. SO4
64.27879 mg. Cl
3.6553 mEq's of Acid (independent of pH)
 

cire

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Thank you @Silver_Is_Money for this description of AMS and an explanation of how it may be reproduced as well as its chemical influences when used to reduce alkalinity. Murphy and Son manufacture and distribute a full range of bespoke and generic chemicals to brewers together with consultancy services. They have been in that business since 1887. I don't know when AMS was first devised, but the first specification I saw predated Britain's decimalisation and the present specification is derived from those figures, then rounded.

Murphy's have distributors/agents in USA and around the globe, but their target customers are commercial brewers, and if there was similar demand to that in UK, homebrew suppliers selling repackaged items. That won't happen while US home brew ale brewing methods in US are often based on RO water and minimal calcium additions. Murphy advise a minimum level of calcium in any and all ale brewing liquor of 100 ppm and will usually advise between 150 and 220 ppm depending upon style and mineral content of your supply. AMS/CRS should not be used as an additive to the mash for adjusting pH, but be used to reduce alkalinity in the liquor to a suitable level for the style being brewed and its calcium content. The following is from a Murphy's webpage.

Bruwell SC is a formulated blend of powdered calcium salts used to increase mineral content of brewing liquor to improve its brewing quality and produce the desired beer characteristics.

Benefits

• Reduces the pH during mashing and wort boiling which improves enzyme activity
• Promotes the precipitation of unwanted proteins in the kettle, hop back or whirlpool
• Improves health and vigour of the yeast
• Improves extract yield, fermentability and wort runoff
• Reduces risk of infection
• Reduces extraction of undesirable silicates, tannins and polyphenols
• Reduces beer stone and can prevent gushing in beer
• Improves beer fining performance
• Promotes head retention on beer
• Adds chloride which imparts palate fullness
. • Adds sulphate which give beer a drier and more bitter effect

It appears not all the above are fully appreciated.

With sufficient calcium in all brewing liquor, ales of all shades can be brewed with some amount of alkalinity in the mash and most brewers use their supply water.
 
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@cire, I'm wondering as to why Murphy and Son do not recommend AMS/CRS for Mash pH reduction. The only thing I can think of is that they are concerned that Cl- and/or SO4-- anion mg/L (ppm) may be driven too high. If these ions are not being driven too high, such as for monitoring and regulation via software, then AMS/CRS should (in my opinion) be perfectly acceptable for such use.

Could it be that they are making the presumption that Alkalinity reduction (a use they do support) is already pushing these two Anions to the limit in many cases, whereby adding yet more during the Mash would send levels too high? Or could it be that their preference is to use Calcium and perhaps even to some extent, Magnesium, as the primary/preferred means to Mash pH reduction, in keeping with their high mg/L (ppm) recommendations for Ca++?
 
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cire

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@cire, I'm wondering as to why Murphy and Son do not recommend AMS/CRS for Mash pH reduction. The only thing I can think of is that they are concerned that Cl- and/or SO4-- anion mg/L (ppm) may be driven too high. If these ions are not being driven too high, such as for monitoring and regulation via software, then AMS/CRS should (in my opinion) be perfectly acceptable for such use.

Could it be that they are making the presumption that Alkalinity reduction (a use they do support) is already pushing these two Anions to the limit in many cases, whereby adding yet more during the Mash would send levels too high? Or could it be that their preference is to use Calcium and perhaps even to some extent, Magnesium, as the primary/preferred means to Mash pH reduction, in keeping with their high mg/L (ppm) recommendations for Ca++?
A good question but for there being lots of good beer brewed before there was a pH scale. A century and more ago, beers were made with water treated to produce a quality product, not a specific pH. Coming to current times, I wonder how accurate mash pH readings might be after adding acid to a mixture of grist and liquor? How much stirring and time might it take for a mash to become homogeneous? How practical is that on larger than homebrew scale?

When taking pH readings during a brew, I set up and take several from mash to post boil. To brew I first measure alkalinity pre and post treatment, which in total takes less time than it does to calibrate a pH meter. From the first reading the required acid is calculated in seconds and the addition takes little more. The second measurement is usually close enough to require only a small acid addition. Salt additions are weighed and split into 5 or 6 equal amounts. My tapwater usually has about 80ppm calcium, enough with the predetermined alkalinity to get a reasonable pH, that will be measured at 45 to 60 minutes into the mash. That will determine how much of the calcium salts will be added to the grainbed and recirculated, with any remaining added at the beginning of the sparge and/or to the boil.

The quantity of anions present is mostly determined by the amount of calcium present. We don't fear minerally beers, in fact we never heard of that descriptor until the internet linked us to America. The British Isles are relatively small, and as the title suggests, we are surrounded by water. It rains summer and winter and we have enough water for our needs without desalination or recycling. Most of the population live in regions of limestone or chalk and as a result have a good level of calcium in their water supply, but the highest I know is around 115 ppm, so about half the upper limit. This means the brewer can, within limits, determine the final quantities of sulphate and chloride.
 
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I had some training in British brewing techniques recently and @cire is correct, you use acid in the HLT to reduce the alkalinity and then you calculate any sulfate or chloride that it added to your water. The new totals then become the starting profile of your brewing liquor.

Here's where the confusion comes in. The professional British method is to calculate the mineral profile of your brewing liquor based on the brew-length or what we'd call batch size. The U.S. homebrewing method uses the total brewing liquor.

For example if I was making a 23L (6 US gal) of Pale Ale at 5% using RO water, I'd need to start with 32L (8.45 US gal) of liquor. Using the chart from Murphy's, I'd target 400ppm sulfate and 200ppm chloride.

For the British style treatment, with a brew-length of 23L, I'd need 16.4g of gypsum and 7.2g of calcium chloride.

Now for the U.S. homebrewer treatment, I add the same amount of minerals but now it's based on 32L so my calculations say I have 287ppm sulfate and 144ppm chloride.

That's something to keep in minds when you're comparing liquor treatments.
 

cire

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I had some training in British brewing techniques recently and @cire is correct, you use acid in the HLT to reduce the alkalinity and then you calculate any sulfate or chloride that it added to your water. The new totals then become the starting profile of your brewing liquor.

Here's where the confusion comes in. The professional British method is to calculate the mineral profile of your brewing liquor based on the brew-length or what we'd call batch size. The U.S. homebrewing method uses the total brewing liquor.

For example if I was making a 23L (6 US gal) of Pale Ale at 5% using RO water, I'd need to start with 32L (8.45 US gal) of liquor. Using the chart from Murphy's, I'd target 400ppm sulfate and 200ppm chloride.

For the British style treatment, with a brew-length of 23L, I'd need 16.4g of gypsum and 7.2g of calcium chloride.

Now for the U.S. homebrewer treatment, I add the same amount of minerals but now it's based on 32L so my calculations say I have 287ppm sulfate and 144ppm chloride.

That's something to keep in minds when you're comparing liquor treatments.
Hello @ep_brew, a great pleasure to hear from another with knowledge of British brewing liquor treatment. I found your post refreshing, too frequently these pages record disbelief, doubt and fear of brewing ales with water as treated, both currently and historically, in UK.

Yes, as you advise, my salt additions are in relation to the quantity of finished beer. I've avoided saying this until now and your perfect opener, although my method is structured to suit the equipment and adopted methods.

My water is mineral rich and contains excessive alkalinity for all but extraordinary beers, the types I don't brew. It typically has 80 ppm calcium with over 100 ppm sulphate, 50 ppm chloride and usually alkalinity in the range of 200 to 250 ppm as calcium carbonate. Alkalinity is measured each brew, then treated to achieve a suitable alkalinity for the grains being mashed and the mash volume. Alkalinity is then checked and adjusted if necessary. The grains are mashed with that water, and having about 80 ppm calcium will result in an acceptable, but not necessarily optimal pH. Salts additions are weighed and subdivided into several packages and added as the brew progresses to replace deposited calcium and lower pH. Any surplus salts will be added to the grain bed for the start of the fly sparge and/or to the kettle.

That method causes all salts to be rinsed through the grains and to the kettle. None. or very little, will remain in the grains in the mash tun as would those added to the liquor. For a 23 litre brew I use 25 to allow for 2 to be lost to hops and break in the kettle and gives reason to working on beer quantity and not total liquor volume, some of which didn't reach the beer.

Obviously the method I use won't be exactly applicable for any using RO water with no initial calcium in the mash, and in such cases a proportion or even all the salts might be added at the start of the mash.

@ep_brew , can you give details of the liquor before treatment when in UK and what you thought of British beers in general and cask beers in particular? I'd be glad to have any or all your thoughts and conclusions.
 

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Unfortunately I haven't be able to visit the UK yet but I'll make it over one day. I did Brewlab's Craft Brew Recipe Formulation Online workshop last week. Before that I've been reading Graham Wheeler's and John Alexander's books. I can get UK raw ingredients and now with all this information I believe I have the ability to produce British style beer.

My town's water is softened so it's high sodium and I use RO. It looks like you have a solid process worked out for your water.

The British beers I get here are bottles and cans of Robinson's Trooper, Old Speckled Hen and Samuel Smith's. So pretty limited and I don't think I could draw any conclusions from just those. I just brewed a Bitter using Fawcett malt, wlp023 Burton Ale and the Murphy's liquor targets. I'm packaging it today with primings, auxiliary finings and isinglass so I'll find out how it compares after it conditions.

Just to be clear I wasn't trying to compare the mineral content of US vs UK brewing liquor in my earlier post. I was just trying to point out when discussing those Murphy's targets for salt additions, those are for the brew-length and that acids are used for alkalinity reduction. Now I compared that to US homebrewing because that's where I am but both the US and UK homebrewing books teach you salt targets for all your liquor and give their recommendations for that. The Murphy's targets are calculated for the the final brew-length and when they target 400 mg/l sulfate, another brewer is targeting their total liquor for 287 mg/l but it's that same total amount of salt added to the beer.

I think that gets missed, I know I did the first time I saw those numbers.
 

cire

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Thanks for that reply and the detail. I'm sure your Brewlab course prepared you well and while I've not participated, my son did 32 years since, while I've on occasion attended lectures by Dr Keith Thomas, the owner and sole director of Brewlab. All of Graham Wheeler's books I have, and fully recommend those but don't know John Alexander's work and wonder why it hasn't come to my attention before now. I miss Graham, we became good friends before his untimely death 4 years ago last month.

Softened water doesn't help the brewer unless RO water is desirable. UK supplies are not softened, high sodium levels considered to be a health hazard and not fitted to supplies for cooking and drinking. My liquor treatment and brewing process has evolved over many years, as you might guess by my son's age, but you are far more prepared than I was well into my efforts. Then water treatment was a total mystery, plastic was the only affordable material for vessels and good quality ingredients were mostly unobtainable in small quantities.

Sorry, that presumption about mineral level comparison was mine. I understand what you mean and wrongly assumed you'd studied in UK. Were you, for example, to treat Brewlab's water supply with CRS for a pale beer (as actually supplied to their Darwin Brewery), sulphate content would become 250 ppm and chloride 130 ppm before any salt addition, and that applies to all liquor used. However, what you advise is correct, but in that instance and many other UK ale brewers, calcium salt additions are significantly less than with RO water and accordingly a lesser difference.

I hope all went well with racking today and the beer is neatly packaged. You certainly are taking your brewing seriously and I feel sure you'll have a pleasing result.
 
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WARNING: Merely some highly tentative thinking being presented here for group pondering, and more importantly, for independent confirmation of output computation (which is definitively subject to being incorrect due to my human frailty and potential to make mistakes). I don't know about you, but Calcium Hydroxide is hazardous stuff that rather scares me.

Combine and mix well:
------------------------------
20 Liters Distilled or high quality RO water
3.7 grams Ca(OH)2 [Calcium Hydroxide]
25 mL's AMS/CRS

Hopefully should result in approximately:
--------------------------------------------------------
Ca++ = 100.1 mg/L (ppm)
Cl- = 80.6 mg/L (ppm)
SO4-- = 110.9 mg/L (ppm)
Alkalinity = 21 mg/L (ppm)
pH ~= 5.40

If my pockets were lined with gold and I wasn't a retiree living on a budgeted fixed income I might consider blending this mixture, sampling it, and sending it off to Ward Labs for a Beer Water Analysis to see if my merely tentative blend musings as seen above come out anywhere near the anticipated approximate analytical output.
 

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Using acids with hydrochloric or sulfuric for alkalinity neutralization make a great deal of sense when a brewer also wants to either of those ions. But my problem with the AMS/CRS product is that you get those ions in a predetermined ratio that may not suit the beer style being brewed. I'm a fan of both chloride and sulfate in brewing, but each has its place with respect to brewing a wide variety of beer styles.

Using those acids individually, would solve the fixed ratio problem. But there is another problem with those acids...they are volatile and corrosive. Just having them around in your brewery is likely to invoke corrosion problems on metals in your brewery since they literally waft into the air and attack nearby metals. For that reason, acids like phosphoric and lactic can be safer and more useful for brewery use.
 

cire

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Martin, thank you for your input, which has a strong following and your opinion well respected.

Using acids with hydrochloric or sulfuric for alkalinity neutralization make a great deal of sense when a brewer also wants to either of those ions.
Indeed it does, so by conserving the raw liquor's calcium content and anions, there is also a saving on brewing salt additions.

But my problem with the AMS/CRS product is that you get those ions in a predetermined ratio that may not suit the beer style being brewed. I'm a fan of both chloride and sulfate in brewing, but each has its place with respect to brewing a wide variety of beer styles.

Using those acids individually, would solve the fixed ratio problem............
Agreed Martin. A profile I use for dark beer isn't achievable with my supply water and CRS, so I also have both acids and mostly use those. Overall they work out cheaper when bulk purchased elsewhere than the monopoly in British brewing that Murphy built during their market domination. However, I might have still been in that wilderness had 40 years ago I not dumped lactic acid for CRS.

.................................................................................................................................. But there is another problem with those acids...they are volatile and corrosive. Just having them around in your brewery is likely to invoke corrosion problems on metals in your brewery since they literally waft into the air and attack nearby metals. For that reason, acids like phosphoric and lactic can be safer and more useful for brewery use.
This is so. I'm not sure how volatile sulphuric acid is, it burns human flesh and other matter by absorbing water content to generate heat. It is nasty stuff and 98% should be treated with the greatest of care.
Hydrochloric at high concentration will escape to damage lungs, metals and much besides. Once diluted to a level suitable for use in a brewery it becomes relatively benign. The first I do is go outside to an area of concrete and a large quantity of water. Then with a large nonmetallic container holding an equal volume of water, then standing upwind take a big breath, open the acid and slowly add it to the water. Then I retreat while any spillage neutralises with lime in the concrete and helped with a a dousing. Even at this level it is stronger than desirable, but at least it can be handled with good ventilation while diluting to your desired level.

The biggest problem I have in UK is knowing if the quoted percentage is W/W, W/V, V/V or V/W, so it is necessary to check the strength by titration, preferably after dilution.

Neutralising alkalinity with lactic acid is fine at lower levels, but too much spoils a beer. The calcium lactate so formed is soluble and quite harmless, indeed advocated for some human ailments, but don't see it supplied as a salt addition for beer like gypsum and calcium chloride and therefore has restricted appeal unless you start with very soft water .
Phosphoric acid can be a problem in highly alkaline water, when calcium phosphate deposits in the HLT. Calcium is less soluble in wort than in water, in some way proportional to phosphate content. Extra phosphate in the mash will delay and partially negate pH reduction from calcium, in turn requiring more acid and so and so on. Obviously, minor acid additions pose no such problems, but British Ales mostly evolved in areas with hard water and high alkalinity and are by and large still made that way. Acid treatment to reduce alkalinity has been the preferred method for 140 years in Britain and as yet, Murphy's AMS is by far the most used. Any brewer wishing to replicate British beers might find using CRS could assist their endeavours, but as CRS has not and may never reach the shelves of US homebrew shelves, @Silver_Is_Money has offered an excellent alternative.
 

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