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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2004 * January 9, 2004 * Using acid malt to lower mash ph < Previous Next >

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Jonathan Henderson (4.72.101.232)
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 03:25 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am thinking about making a Pilsner with 100% pils malt and want to know how to lower the mash ph. I have read where some people have trouble getting it into range with acids so I am considering some acid malt. My questions are:
1) how much is usually used in this regard
2) does it affect the flavor? I've seen acid malt in clone recipes for Guiness to give it that characteristic "twang." I certainly don't want this in a pils.

Any experience on this? Thanks,
Jonathan
 

Jared Cook (24.1.247.22)
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 03:53 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You can add calcium chloride or gypsum to lower mash ph. Calcium chloride would probably be more appropriate in a pils because gypsum may cause some harshness with the hops.
 

Brandon Dachel (63.238.222.190)
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 12:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

> gypsum may cause some harshness with the hops.

Harshness? No way...gypsum causes some goodness with the hops.

My question though is what is it about your water supply/mash that is making you want to lower your pH?
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 02:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The primary reason for using acid malt is that it does not violate the German Reinheitsgebot, the law that limits the ingredients in beer to water, malt, hops and yeast. Otherwise there are more effective ways to adjust the mash pH, including the use of gypsum, calcium carbonate and phosphoric or lactic acid.

As Brandon suggests, the more important question is what are your intentions. Making water adjustments without an accurate means of measuring pH can very easily result in more harm than good. The truth is that a pils brewed with naturally soft water will seldom require adjustment.
 

chumley (199.92.192.126)
Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 11:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Unless I decoct, my pils mash comes out around 5.7-5.9. A little high. I found that 0.25 pounds of acid malt for a 5-gallon batch gets me down to 5.3 without any noticeable flavor contribution. FWIW, my water analysis is:

Calcium 8.1 mg/L
Magnesium 1.3 mg/l
Bicarbonate 35 mg/L
Sulfate 5.9 mg/L
Sodium 5.9 mg/L
Chloride Not available
Alkalinity 28.7 mg/l
Hardness 26 mg/l
pH 7.2 to 7.8

Most times I decoct, so I don't bother with the acid malt.
 

Mike Kessenich (165.189.92.23)
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 02:30 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Speaking of water, I have noticed a number of posts with their water analysis. When I compare these to mine, I have never seen anything nearly as hard as mine. Do I have a problem here?

Verona Water (average of 4 wells)

Alkalinity, Total (as CaCO3, ppm) 313
Total Hardness (as CaCO3, ppm ) 340
Chloride (as Cl1, ppm) 19.1
Calcium (as Ca, ppm) 69.75
Magnesium (as Mg, ppm) 39.75
Sodium (as ppm) 6.52
Sulfates (as ppm) 15
PH 7.68
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 02:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mike, I assume you live in the Madison, WI area. Your water is indeed hard, typical of Midwest well water, but it's mostly temporary hardness that would be significantly reduced by boiling. Or you could blend it with RO-filtered water for styles that benefit from soft water. Otherwise it would be good for brewing many beers as-is, especially if you use an activated charcoal filter to remove any added chlorine.
 

Mark McAvoy (128.252.241.177)
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 07:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You can also do a long acid rest to accomplish the same thing. This does take time however and will have a flavor contribution that you may find undesirable.

My wife likes a low hopped pale lager with a little bit of sourness and she's able to discern the flavor affect from a long acid rest versus adding lactic acid post fermentation. I guess that makes her a beer snob.
 

Brandon Dachel (216.177.117.110)
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 10:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

> discern the flavor affect from a long acid rest
> versus adding lactic acid post

I'm unaware that the 'acid rest' produces a sour tasting beer. About the only place it's used anywhere is in bavarian wheat beers...and that's to produce the pre-cursors to the clove flavors made by the yeast.

A long rest at that temperature range can cause souring - but that's due to lacto bacteria.
 

Adam W (128.125.6.113)
Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - 11:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I use phosphoric acid with my pils beers and it works very well. Fast and easy and accurate.

Only using acid malt will be somewhat of a guessing game to try and figure out where your mash pH is going to end up.
 

Mark McAvoy (128.252.241.177)
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 01:50 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Brandon,

You know Brandon you've been doing this quite a bit lately. First you say what a previous poster says is wrong. Then you say the nearly the exact same thing they said your own way.
 

Brandon Dachel (63.238.222.190)
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 12:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

> You know Brandon you've been doing this quite a
> bit lately.

Because you didn't quote what I said to provide context I'm going to have to guess what you're getting at here.

> First you say what a previous poster says is
> wrong.

I had stated "I'm unaware that the 'acid rest' produces a sour tasting beer.". I stand by that statement - I'm not aware that an acid rest is to produce sour beers.

> Then you say the nearly the exact same thing
> they said your own way.

Again, without context I'm not sure what your talking about specifically so I'm guessing again.

Bill explained what the purpose of the acid rest is within the context of a traditional pilsner (in line with the reinheitsgebot.). I followed up on this with the statement that it's also used in Bavarian wheat beers.

However, what I was trying to point out was the difference between a sour mash and the acid step in a mash - they are completely different animals. While one occurs in the same temperature range as the other the mechanism is completely different. Furthermore I do not believe (feel free to correct me) that the acid rest step (15-30 minutes?) is going to produce a sour tasting beer. A sour mash will, however.

It may not seem like a big deal but there are many new brewers that read this information and it's important that they come away from this with 'correct' information - in as much as there is a 'right and wrong' in brewing.
 

Mark McAvoy (128.252.241.177)
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 05:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Brandon,

Try this.
1. Take your favorite pilsner malt and bring it to about 105.
2. Measure pH and taste.
3. Hold for three hours.
4. Measure pH and taste. You will note a perceptible sourness and lower pH.
5. Complete the mash, brew the beer. I recommend a mild and clean hop like Mt. Hood, 20 IBUs or less. Ferment with your favorite lager yeast.
6. Imbibe. There will be a slight sourness. No, it won't be overpowering, just part of the flavor profile.

I apologize for not quantifying what I meant by a long acid rest. I don't consider 15 to 20 minutes to be long.

Now I don't recommend a three hour acid rest as common brewing practice and this is certainly not to any style. However, brewing is a hobby, blah, blah, blah.
 

Jonathan Henderson (4.72.100.84)
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 04:07 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Adam, do you measure ph with a meter or with papers?
 

Adam W (128.125.6.113)
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 06:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Meter.

In addition, when using 100% pils malt, I ALWAYS have to add acid to get the pH between 5.0 and 5.5

Mark,

I wouldn't call your process an "acid-rest", I would call it a sour-mash process. My guess would be that you are seeing the effects of lactic-acid producing bacteria rather than enzymatic processes. Bacteria will grow very quickly near 100 degrees F, and malt naturally contains LOTS of acid producing bacteria.
 

Brandon Dachel (216.177.117.110)
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 09:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

> 3. Hold for three hours.

Ah, but that's my point. Even when an acid rest is performed for pH correction I really doubt it's done for that long.

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