HOMEBREW Digest #5840 Fri 13 May 2011

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  RE: pH adjustment with organic or inorganic acids (Fred L Johnson)
  Re: pH adjustment with organic or inorganic acids? (5839) (Gordon Strong)
  Re: pH adjustment with organic or inorganic acids? (mossview5)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 13 May 2011 06:23:44 -0400 From: Fred L Johnson <FLJohnson52 at nc.rr.com> Subject: RE: pH adjustment with organic or inorganic acids Richard (Curt) Bird asks about using organic versus inorganic acids for adjusting the pH of sparge water. I think the primary reason for using a mineral acid (e.g., phosphoric) rather than an organic acid (e.g., citric, lactic, and acetic) is that the mineral acids are much stronger acids and require much less mass to do the job. I also suspect that sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acids--very strong acids--are not usually used only because they are a little dangerous because of their strength, especially in high concentrations. Does anyone know if it is more difficult/expensive to produce sulfuric and hydrochloric acid in a food grade compared to phosphoric acid? I suspect the flavor impact of the mineral acids is also much lower than for organic acids. Most brewers are looking to NOT affect the flavor of the beer at this point in the process. (Salt additions are a different story.) Fred L Johnson Apex, North Carolina, USA Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 13 May 2011 06:45:50 -0400 From: Gordon Strong <strongg42 at gmail.com> Subject: Re: pH adjustment with organic or inorganic acids? (5839) Richard Bird compliments my book and asks some questions about pH adjustment with various acids. Thanks, Richard, glad you're enjoying it, and yes, I'm here. Certainly you can adjust pH with any acid; that part is simple chemistry. My concern is any residual flavors that might come along as a side effect of adjusting pH. I'm particularly concerned about using acids that will leave an impression of typical brewing faults in the mind of the beer consumer, lactic and acetic in particular. My opinion is that phosphoric gives the most neutral profile for beer, so that's why I use it. However, if you do want the flavor of other acids as part of the finished beer, then by all means experiment with different acids. Sour beer styles are a special case, so normal rules don't really apply there. In general, I think the sourness developed from bacteria and yeast is more complex and appealing in sour styles than the sourness you get from simple acid additions, so I wouldn't look at adding acids as a substitute for the traditional methods. But those acids could add an additional dimension that you might like. Go for it. As always, let your palate be your guide and select methods that give you the results that are most appealing to you. You may discover some interesting combinations that haven't been tried before, so I don't want to discourage experimentation. Just be sure you assess the results of your experiments before deciding whether to add those methods to your brewing repertoire. Gordon Strong Beavercreek, Ohio Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 13 May 2011 09:05:13 -0400 From: mossview5 <mossview5 at gmail.com> Subject: Re: pH adjustment with organic or inorganic acids? The flavor neutrality of phosphoric acid has long made it a favorite of brewers. The moderate flavor and ability to conform to the Whiningheinygotsbutt requirements has made lactic acid nearly as welcome. I have toyed with the idea of using more flavorful acids in my brewing and its not far-fetched in some styles. Acids such as Acetic, Citric, Malic, and Tartaric acids are not out of bounds in brewing. Acetic might be a stretch in many styles, but there are styles such as Wood-aged and Sour Styles that this could be a good complexity-adding ingredient that avoids the risk of acetobactor infection. With the propensity of citrus-mimicking hops in American Ales, adding an additional component via Citric acid is not outlandish. Both Tartaric and Malic acids are typical in fruits and could be used to add fruit nuances to a beer. Malic acid is intensely sour tasting, so it might not be ideal in brewing. Both of these acids are present in wine, so maybe adding these acids could help promote that perception. Acid Blend is a composition of Tartaric, Malic, and Citric acids that could also find a place in beer. The point I'm trying to make is that this is a component that could expand our perceptions of beer flavor. It seems we are quite focused on minimizing acid flavor in most beer styles. In many cases that is desirable, but I'm hoping that other brewers will join me in exploring the use of other acids in brewing. Martin Brungard Return to table of contents
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