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How much lactic acid would you use?

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Shred

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I moved my Raspberry Wheat Champagne Ale into secondary this weekend... in case you're wondering what the hell kind of beer that is, I'll list the specs below.

Anyway - I tossed the 3 gallon batch into secondary with about 4 lbs of frozen raspberries (I want BIG raspberry... the object is to make a beer that my non-beer drinking parents will enjoy) and some pectic enzyme.

Wanting a nice bite to the beer without a big hop flavor, I've opted to use lactic acid at bottling. I know the stuff is super-potent, so I'm wondering what a good amount to add to my 3 gallons would be.

I was thinking in the half teaspoon range, but I'm basing this on virtually nothing. Suggestions are very welcome!


The specs:

3/4 lb Corn Sugar (for alcohol and lightening)
~2 Wheat DME
~1.5 lbs Pilsner DME
1 oz Hallertaurer (60 min)
.5 oz Crystal (15 min)
Wyeast #1010


Measured Original Gravity: 1.054 SG
SG (after primary): 1.010 SG
Estimated ABV (after fruit fermentation): 6.5 - 7.0 %

Oh - and I'm calling it "champagne ale" because I intend to do a heavy carb on this one, resembling a champagne carb.
 

TNGabe

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Adding lactic acid beyong the perception threshold is bad. Can you measure the ph of your beer? How does it taste?
 
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I could grab some testing stips, I guess. I took a taste after my SG reading, but that was pre-raspberries. It tasted like a light wheat beer.
 

TNGabe

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Taste it again, see what you think. Add a drop of acid and see if you like it more.
 
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I'll give it a few days and do that. It's fermenting like crazy now. For the first couple days the 3 gallons in a 6 gallon bucket just had the telltale, nose-burn smell of CO2. Today, it's actually enough to get the airlock bubbling.
 

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Most fruit is pretty acidic on its own, although obviously there's tremendous variation. As Gabe suggested, once the yeast has finished eating the raspberries, you can pull out a small, measured sample and experiment. Just remember that carbed beer is noticeably more acidic than flat beer.
 

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After some reading and a little experimenting I've found that I can simulate a Berliner Weisse by adding roughly 10 ml. of 88% lactic acid from my LHBS to one gallon of any nice wheat beer at bottling. It gives it a nice sour bite without being overwhelming.
So for a 3 gallon batch you would use + or - 30 ml.
Just an example of amounts if it helps.
 

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Once raspberries ferment out, the resulting wine/beer is very tart and acidic. I would definitely taste it before adding any lactic acid. Tart is good, sour is not. Don't forget that carbonation adds a tart 'bite' to the beer as well. I think the beer will already be pretty tart, and wouldn't turn it into a sour beer if you want people to enjoy it.
 
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I took a taste tonight and you were absolutely right, it's plenty tart enough. In fact, I'd almost like to add some sweetness to it. Any thoughts on how to do this?
 

TNGabe

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The only way to sweeten it is to add a non-fermentable (artificial) sweetner or try and kill the yeast and then add sugar. Can probably find more on back sweetening in the cider forum.
 

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I use a wine conditioner to back sweeten a cider I brew. Its basically sorbate and sugar. This works for me because I keg if you plan on bottling it won't carb because of the sorbate.
 
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Yeah. I'm bottling, so I think I'm going with lactose on this one.
 

TNGabe

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Yeah. I'm bottling, so I think I'm going with lactose on this one.
Is it unpalatable as is? I can't see lacto improving the beer, but that's just me.
 
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No. It's drinkable but really light bodied and a little overly tart. Some sweetness would balance it out.
 
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I tried pulling off 4 ounces and scaling down the lactose accordingly (down to the gram level) but I still don't think I ended up with much in the way of sweetness or body doing, what I think, was the equivalent of 1 lb to 3 gallons (5 grams to 4 fl oz)... it's possible my math is wrong here, but does anyone know of a "standard" amount of lactose to add to a batch?

The beer is pretty thin and tart. I'd like to fill it out and give it a nice sweetness as well.

Funny how this thread started as looking for a way to add tartness and ended up here. Curse of the newbie, I guess :cross:
 
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