USING ACID MALT

While Beer is 90-97% water, it is a very tricky subject.

USING ACID MALT

Postby mark1964 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 17:43

Ive managed to do a couple of beers using bru n water. Im using acid malt to get the desired mash ph along with lactic acid and the usual salts. My question is the use of acid malt in nearly all my recipes is it really needed and what flavour and taste difference if any will it make in the finished beer?

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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby Eric » Sat Aug 27, 2016 18:19

mark1964 wrote:Ive managed to do a couple of beers using bru n water. Im using acid malt to get the desired mash ph along with lactic acid and the usual salts. My question is the use of acid malt in nearly all my recipes is it really needed and what flavour and taste difference if any will it make in the finished beer?


It is only necessary to use acid malt and or lactic acid for as long and as far as you demand that style of beer.
Using either of those as the major treatment for my water would make a beer I fear few would drink beyond the first sip. Accordingly I stock neither nor would go to the bother of sourcing a water suitable for such treatment as my tapwater treated in other ways makes a vast range of beers that on the odd occasion I fancy that style of lager, I'll buy some.
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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby serum » Sat Aug 27, 2016 19:36

Acid malt is just for water treatment isn't it? Same as adding lactic acid. Its only needed if the grain bill and water profile require it.

If you're water's not too hard theyre fine. I use lactic in the mash and it's not noticeable in the beer but I use quite soft bottled water. I use a few mls in a 20l batch if the grain bill is pale. If i make an amber beer I tend not to need it.

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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby octoscott » Sat Aug 27, 2016 19:39

Acid malt will add significant tang to your beer in anything over 5%.

I've used up to 20% for proper sour, but it is at least noticeable at 5%.

Under that I'd agree it is just altering pH.
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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby rlemkin » Sat Aug 27, 2016 19:52

It's useful for small adjustments to mash pH. 1% acid malt leads to around a .1 drop in mash pH. Depending on your water and grainbill this can be very useful, but equally if you're generally in the desired range it's not worth worrying about too much..
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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby mark1964 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 20:04

thanks my waters very hard i need to use acid malt in the grain bill to get the ph correct in the mash etc also i use lactic in the sparge. The last beer i made tastes fine no twang etc

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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby serum » Sat Aug 27, 2016 20:59

Crs or other types of acid don't have a taste like lactic does but they can also increase sulphates or chlorides. That may or may not be useful depending on what you're making.

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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby Eric » Sat Aug 27, 2016 22:13

mark1964 wrote:thanks my waters very hard i need to use acid malt in the grain bill to get the ph correct in the mash etc also i use lactic in the sparge. The last beer i made tastes fine no twang etc


I'm a little surprised by this. Acid malt and lactic acid are more usual additions to softer waters when mash pH can be high due to low calcium level. I would have expected hard water in Yorkshire to be high in calcium and alkalinity, not necessarily the best to use for beer styles suited to acid malts and lactic acid treatment.
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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby KevinS » Sat Aug 27, 2016 22:42

I live in Bristol which has very hard water. If I try and use CRS it bumps up the sulphates, like Serum mentions, making aggressively bitter beers. Therefore CRS is not an ideal solution for me.

If you're water is otherwise fine and all you need to do is reduce your PH, and you've not noticed any trouble with your final beer, I wouldn't worry about acid malt amounts.

There have been some experiments that have shown its effect on taste is not as much as thought:
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?ti ... experiment

If in doubt though, acid malt is not your only choice - and you could try any number of other methods to get your PH in the correct range:
http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?ti ... mash_pH.29

I by no means pretend to be a water chemistry expert however, and so maybe Aleman or similar might be of more help

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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby KevinS » Sat Aug 27, 2016 22:43

I guess my number one question should be - are you measuring your PH - and is the acid ensuring you get into the correct range?

I only use acid malt 10 mins into the mash, once I've taken a PH measurement and know how much I need to use (if any at all)
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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby Aleman » Sun Aug 28, 2016 06:44

Acid malt can take up to 30 minutes to work. When the German brewers use it, they do an acid rest at 35C for 30 minutes check the pH, if it's not where they want it they add acid malt and then wait until the pH has fallen to where they want it.

It is not appropriate for reducing high levels of alkalinity . . . I can detect lactic acid in a beer at 6 ml In 50L of liquor so it's taste threshold is not as low as some make out!

Lactic acid has bugger all effect on hardness. In fact the only acid that has an effect on hardness is phosphoric, and only when there is a high level of alkalinity ;)

I have said all along that CRS is not a magic bullet for alkalinity adjustment, especially when you have high levels of alkalinity, you are much better off using hydrochloric or sulphuric acids individually or combined to get the alkalinity where you want it. Do that and the mash pH falls where it needs to be.

Blindly swapping acids one for another on the basis of the results of a spreadsheet or Web app is not water treatment it's witchcraft!

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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby mark1964 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:15

Ok so where do people get their phosphoric acid from ?

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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby cyclops » Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:37

mark1964 wrote:Ok so where do people get their phosphoric acid from ?

They don't, or not many over in the UK do. Phosphoric acid will precipitate the calcium so is not good for our style of beers. Try hydrochloric and sulphuric acid, which is basically what CRS is but already mixed together. This way you can Taylor the profile how you want.

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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby mark1964 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:41

so why not just use crs? brew n water has it in the acids lists

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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby serum » Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:43

For me the main drawback of CRS/AMS is that you're stuck with the water profile it leaves you with. From what I remember it'll give you a sulphate heavy profile which will be good for some beers but not others.

I find using bottled water convenient because I haven't got to contend with the crappy water in SE London. I'd be adding a lot to it or having to do a lot more messing around to get the profile I want and i don't have the time. The bottled water is consistent and I can simply add whatever minerals I want and use a small amount of lactic if needed.

You could try boiling your liquor first then racking. It's too much of a faff for me with the limited time I've got but it'll get rid of some carbonates. Alternatively you could mix tap water and distilled or something like that.

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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby KevinS » Sun Aug 28, 2016 13:23

+1 to everything serum said :)

Tesco Ashbeck bottled with some additions - rather than trying to change everything about my tap water
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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby mark1964 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 14:00

i use 100% ashbeck when making lagers or wheat beers. I used to just treat with crs alone which was fine for dark beers. Its when my target profile is for pale ales where the water needs to be softer. I noticed that bru n water that in the acid lists there is crs to choose from. The next brew i do ill make up the recipe using crs and see what happens

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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby serum » Sun Aug 28, 2016 14:12

There's no harm trying that out. I've found water treatment to be a case of finding what works for you. There are lots of ways you can do it.

The water I use is quite like Ashbeck and I can do a pretty dark amber beer with it without overshooting the ph so it should be fine for pales.

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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby mark1964 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 15:43

ive just done a recipe for pale ale on bru n water adding 380g acid malt to the mash and using crs brings the PH level to 5.3 which is about right. Just my tap water is crap so i may end up gettin a RO unit eventually

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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby Aleman » Sun Aug 28, 2016 16:39

Mark part of your problem with water treatment is that you don't understand what you need or unfortunately what people are telling you.

Hardness is required, alkalinity is not. Acid treatment changes alkalinity, and hardness if using phosphoric acid.

I know breweries in Essex that have no issue producing high quality pale ales using thier hard tap water CRS and gypsum and calcium chloride.

Brunwater PREDICTS your pH to be 5.3 but that is not a certainty ;)

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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby mark1964 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 17:51

I have decided to buy a reverse osmosis unit and build the water from there seems a better way. Ive made great pale ales just using tap water and crs so i understand what changes what

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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby KevinS » Sun Aug 28, 2016 18:16

mark1964 wrote:I have decided to buy a reverse osmosis unit and build the water from there seems a better way. Ive made great pale ales just using tap water and crs so i understand what changes what


If you're considering that (rather expensive) route, might I recommend you buy some RO water from a garden centre or likewise first (you can normally get 50L for around £7-8) and see how you get on.

A much more cost effective way to try-before-you-buy, as RO systems have running costs etc associated with them
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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby KevinS » Sun Aug 28, 2016 18:18

Or better yet, use the money to get 1) your tap water analysed and 2) a good PH metre. To understand what you're dealing with in the first place...
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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby mark1964 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 19:00

ph meter on order i could get a test off wally it differs so much i thought an RO unit would be a better bet

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Re: USING ACID MALT

Postby GrowlingDog » Sun Aug 28, 2016 20:34

An RO system will work, but factor in the running and maintenance costs. As you have mentioned you have hard water it would probably pay you to get a water softener as well to prolong the life of the RO membranes.

Both the particle filter and the carbon filter need replacing from time to time, I have to replace mine every three months but mine get very high usage.

You will of course need salt for the softener as well.

It all uses electric and both the softener and the RO unit use more water than they produce. I collect the waste water from my RO unit in water butts for watering the garden.

RO units are bacteria havens, but as you are boiling the water for brewing you should be fine. If you ever want to use RO water without boiling you need to keep the RO unit clean. My unit does a weekly heat clean where it basically boils everything inside it then once a month I recirculate acid through it as well to clean it.
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