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ChadYak
04/30/09 03:26 PM  
Difference between adding Lactic acid and...
I wanted to see what people take on adding lactic acid to a brew compared to adding acidulated malt or pulling some first runnings and adding lactic acid bacteria for a natural lactic acid addition. What chemically could truly be the difference. Especially as if I add 50ppm, 100ppm, 200ppm I could see the reaction it had on the brettanomyces fermentation where as a natural lactic acid addition before then sterilizing to kill off the Lactic bacterias I could only measure a pH drop but have no exact way of knowing the level of lactic acid to be able to truly observe its affect in the beer. So what are people take on this.. And I know what Sparrow says in WildBrews about lactic acid being a drier less tangy taste when added as the liquid compound.. which hasn't stopped some breweries from doing it anyways without noticing remarkable differences if at all. So what draw backs can people see? Any one added lactic acid to their brews before?

Chad

tankdeer
04/30/09 03:44 PM  
Re: Difference between adding Lactic acid and...
I have not done it, but have heard/read simialr accounts. And that pure lactic added generally results in a "less complex" or flatter acid profile.

I've only had one commercial beer that had pure lactic acid added in a feabile attempt to make a sour beer. It was terrible. Bridgeport Stumptown Tart in case you're interested.

SteveG
04/30/09 04:03 PM  
Re: Difference between adding Lactic acid and...
I have heard the same. Happy to say I have not had tankdeers opportunity to sample something like the stumptown!
ChadYak
04/30/09 04:11 PM  
Re: Difference between adding Lactic acid and...
I hear the less complex or flatter acid profile and could come up with some reasons why it would occur due to the other metabolites created by the lactic acid bacteria not being present.

But in a scientific view point (and primarily for measurement purposes when looking at laboratory micor-fermentations that will be analyzed for the compounds produced) the lactic acid should be enzymatically converted to Ethyl lactate just as would happen if the lactic acids had come from the bacterias naturally? Any reason why it would be different?

Baums
04/30/09 04:39 PM  
Re: Difference between adding Lactic acid and...
Adding lactic acid to a clean beer will not give a complex sour flavor. Lots of us know from experience.

Adding lactic acid AND brett is another story. Absolutely the brett will still make ethyl lactate (proven at Leuven). It's just a question of whether that's how you want to brew. Anyway Chad for your research I agree experiments with pure lactic acid + brett are a good way to understand EL production from the different strains. Given limited time I think even doing just one LA concentration, for all strains, you'd learn a lot. You might want to look up the Leuven papers in JIB to see what their results were in similar tests.

MarkO
04/30/09 04:50 PM  
Re: Difference between adding Lactic acid and...
Another set of bad commercial examples, also from Portland:

the Cascade Brewery's set of sour beers, Kriek, Apricot, Cuvee de Jongleur . . .

There is just something overly simple (for lack of a better description) about the taste.

ChadYak
04/30/09 05:01 PM  
Re: Difference between adding Lactic acid and...
Thats the idea.. Had a jolt and decided to throw together some fermentation projects which will be started on Monday, as the cultures are ready to be pitched nearly (this is a whole new set of experiments from what we talked about)

I now have 8 strains (Wyeats 3 strains arrived today and are propagating already) I will use a fermentation done with just the pure wort as the control and give 50ppm 100ppm 200ppm and 300ppm additions to the wort. This should work out to about 5 variables with 8 strain done in duplicate... 75, 1.8 litre fermentations going on at once at ambient 68-70 F room temperature on a bench. I will give them 21 days to ferment and then take samples for various analysis, including ethyl lactate amounts, sugar consumption, amino acid usage, pH, Final Gravity, 4-ethyl guiaicol and 4 ethyl phenol, along with the normal beer compounds usually analyzed.

I have the papers from Leuven. They involve looking at bretta with relation to a lambic and gueuze fermentations but I am using them as my building material. I will be referencing the paper to make conclusion to my findings. I feel 300ppm is the max lactic level for a brett beer. The Leuven papers mention as high as 600ppm but thats in a gueuze and I believe they found about 350ppm to be the average found in gueuze. I'll need to re-read over it this weekend though.

I will use some natural lactic bacteria to acidify some first running in a few 20 litre batches I will be doing next week and the following weeks. I can try to observe then the difference and see how noticeable it is.

ChadYak
04/30/09 05:05 PM  
Re: Difference between adding Lactic acid and...
Strange about the Cascade breweries sours being "simple". Their was someone on the main forum raving about them a couple months back how Vinnie and RR was just for the masses as a sacrifice, while Cascade was a hidden gem saved for the Orgoneans(sp?)..

Vinnie said he originally made flabby Brett beers, I can't recall what he accredited to the change.... Maybe the addition of some lactic acid bacteria? or maybe using multiple Bretts?

Baums
04/30/09 06:25 PM  
Re: Difference between adding Lactic acid and...
"feel 300ppm is the max lactic level for a brett beer. The Leuven papers mention as high as 600ppm but thats in a gueuze and I believe they found about 350ppm to be the average found in gueuze. I'll need to re-read over it this weekend though."

I think there's a missing zero in there, maybe 5000 ppm for very sour lambic or AAR, 2000 for moderate, and 500 ppm the max you can get from brett without lactic bacteria. I added 3200 ppm to a couple bottles of saison and it was very sour but by no means undrinkable. Might want to check how long the brett took to make significant EL in the Leuven papers as I fear 21 days is pretty short--then again the strains could still be compared against each other over this timescale.

tankdeer
04/30/09 07:21 PM  
Re: Difference between adding Lactic acid and...
You know, I had the Cascade Apricot a while back and thought it was pretty good. I too had heard good reviews which is why I picked it up (the Stuptown was a different story - free from my buddy who used to brew for Bridgeport). Anyways, it wasn't nearly as complex as the Russian River, Lost Abbey, Allagash, etc sour beers, but it was still pretty good. I enjoyed it and was glad I bought it.
MarkO
05/01/09 03:00 AM  
Re: Difference between adding Lactic acid and...
I should say that my experience with the Cascade stuff was a year ago, and I have had a couple of people tell me that they are now better. I am just waiting for one of them to buy me a glass, because I don't want to waste my own money anymore -- especially now that you can get the RR wild beers in Portland, often for less money!

Their beers do score very high on the mass-market beer ratings sites, too (one of which also identifies the Kriek as a "lambic," though), so take my cranky opinion with a grain of salt. And their pub is definitely a destination, if you are here.

Seanywonton
05/01/09 09:09 AM  
Re: Difference between adding Lactic acid and...
Did you see Micheal T's latest blog entry on the Madfermentationist? If not that's an uncanny coincidence!

If we are talking about just a small addition to acidify the mash, I would have to think the difference would be almost unnoticeable. But as for making a "sour beer" by dumping in some food grade acid, it seems highly suspect. I have always assumed that the complexities from using actual lacto vs. food grade lactic acid were the esters produced by the bacteria. Does anyone know if that's true?

And Vinnie, I think usually blends in a small amount of sour beer to his brett beers to sharpen them up. He's the man!

Mike T
05/01/09 09:44 AM  
Re: Difference between adding Lactic acid and...
I agree, good timing. My thought was more on how to use acids to add more acidity when you end up with a sour beer that just isn't sour enough. I got a bit of butteriness out of the lactic acid, but other than that I thought it worked well. I also liked it in combination with just a touch of vinegar to give the acidity a bit more bite.

The acid blend and phosphoric acid were interesting, but not right (although the acid blend, lactic, and acetic together sort of tasted like a fruit lambic without the fruit).

Baums
05/01/09 09:58 AM  
Re: Difference between adding Lactic acid and...
"have always assumed that the complexities from using actual lacto vs. food grade lactic acid were the esters produced by the bacteria. Does anyone know if that's true?"

This is what I was trying to get at earlier--I believe brett alone is probably sufficient to "round the acid out" by creating ethyl lactate (and perhaps other lactate esters?). So (unfortunately?) I think you can probably make good beer with bottled acid + brett.

I hate making statements like that without hard justification--there's more than enough unfounded garbage that makes its way around. So here's what I got: there's certainly hard evidence (Leuven papers again) that brett can create EL from bottled lactic acid (though it might be worth checking whether or not you have to be careful to use D- or L-lactic acid?). Whether or not that's enough to "round out" the flavor I don't know for certain, but to me it seems likely (and it would be easy to check).

Furthermore despite at least some academic work being spent on the role of these bacteria in sour beer, serious EL production has not (to the best of my knowledge) been attributed to them, and apart from lactic acid their more famed products are things like diacetyl, acetic acid, ethanol, DMS. *Maybe* they produce something else that is *necessary* to round out the acid, or *maybe* their presence somehow positively influences the brett in a *necessary* way... but those possibilities seems like a bigger stretch than the notion that brett alone is sufficient.

Baums
05/01/09 10:03 AM  
Re: Difference between adding Lactic acid and...
Just saw Mike's blog--it's great to see people doing things to actually figure this stuff out.
tripelbeam
05/02/09 02:42 AM  
Re: Difference between adding Lactic acid and...
These fermentations will be completely different because of the pH I would assume. Final acidity being adjusted would not be identicle to bacteria producing lactic (if I understand this correctly).

no one commented on acidulated malt. I've used this once to my disappointment with a Saison @ 1# for 10# batch. It seemed very synthetic, Lemonade?

BPotts
05/02/09 11:07 AM  
Re: Difference between adding Lactic acid and...
I've found acidulated malt works pretty well when only adding 4-5%... it simply leaves a subtle acidic finish to the beer, but certainly not TART or SOUR. Just used some (4-5% of grist) in a wheat beer and I think it definitely added a nice subtle facet to the beer. I've had beers "soured" with acid malt, and like you said triple - very one dimensional and artificial tasting.

I did however just perform my first sour mash and am pretty pleased with the results. Clean acidity, but defintely adding more complexity (could be do to the rest of the grist it was used with), and not the sort of artificial flavor lended by a large adittion of acid malt.

Why not just add food-grade lactic acid? Becuase that's a pretty lame short cut - what's the fun in just adding food grade lactic acid instead of trying to produce it naturally?

 
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