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Almighty
10/06/10 02:58 PM  
Why not use Acid Malt for all Lactic Acid Needs
The more I read about sour mashes the less I understand why Acid Malt isn't used. From what I understand about Acid Malt is that it is malt that has already been put through a sour mash and then kilned to kill the live cultures. Below are the Pros And Cons I came up with, please let me know if I'm missing something.

Pro:

-Controlled, consistent amount of lactic acid based on percentage of grist not growth rates that vary by temperature, species ...

-No need to reboil

-No separate brewing session or planning ahead

-No risk of other bugs

-No smell

Con:

Price - more expensive than just base malt

Availability - not always in local homebrew shops but is online.

Mike T
10/06/10 03:23 PM  
Re: Why not use Acid Malt for all Lactic Acid Need
With a sour mash you can convert the mash before souring, when you add acid malt in a high enough quantity to make a ďsourĒ beer youíll drop the pH too low for good starch conversion. Iím not saying it canít work, Brute supposedly gets a good portion of its acidity from acid malt, but Iím not sure what Ithacaís process is.

I think souring the wort pre-boil/hopping with lacto is an interesting way to go because it gets around a lot of the issues of both sour mashing and acid malt.

sixbillionethans
10/06/10 04:04 PM  
Re: Why not use Acid Malt for all Lactic Acid Need
Brewer from Ithaca is featured on recent Sunday Session on the BN. Goes into great depth regarding their process and use of acid malt (15-25%?) as the only source of sourness in their sour beers.

Excellent interview with lots of info. I've been contemplating how to experiment with the method ever since I listened.

I think it's great to see so many brewers (commercial and amateur) exploring alternative fermentation methods.

tankdeer
10/06/10 04:30 PM  
Re: Why not use Acid Malt for all Lactic Acid Need
From my understanding Mike hit the nail on the head. Using a large percentage of acid malt can really mess with your mash pH. Makes even more sense considering that's why the malt exists in the first place - mash adjustment.
Adrian
10/06/10 04:45 PM  
Re: Why not use Acid Malt for all Lactic Acid Need
Why not just toss the acid malt into the mash after the mash period ends and it's time to sparge? Basically just steep the acid malt to wash the lactic acid from the husks.
Almighty
10/06/10 06:10 PM  
Re: Why not use Acid Malt for all Lactic Acid Need
I got the idea from that interview.

And Adrian you had the idea I was thinking about. You can just steep the grains.

The next test will be to see how the taste of each method differs. I have read that people prefer the lactic acid produced from sour mashes Vs. adding commercial lactic acid post fermentation.

sixbillionethans
10/06/10 06:37 PM  
Re: Why not use Acid Malt for all Lactic Acid Need
Do I remember correctly that mash pH is discussed in the interview? Can't remember, but I did intend to listen again.

While tankdeer's comment makes sense, it clearly must be possible since Ithaca claims it as their process in Brute and it won gold medal @ GABF.

Steeping grains seems like it would really make "price" go up in your pro/con trade-off. Do you really mean steeping or would you rather mash the rest of your grains for let's say 30 minutes then add the acid malt. But I'm pretty much a dummy when it comes to mash pH.

I'd love for a non-pH-dummy (pHD?) to add their thoughts on this thread.

Ithaca was also using some flaked corn, and I suppose you could get some sort of stepped cereal mash with dual grain additions. Yikes, that sounds like work.

brewinhard
10/06/10 08:01 PM  
Re: Why not use Acid Malt for all Lactic Acid Need
I have used up to a pound of acid malt in a 1.057 gravity pale brett beer with no problems with conversion for a full 60min. mash. I have not gone higher than that even though I have used acid malt in many brews I have made.

I can offer another con from my perspective though -

After brewing with this malt so much, I can now pick it out of a lineup and thought it made my beers taste too salty if that sounds ridiculous. I wonder if that has something to do with the pH of my mash affecting the mineral content of my water, what? Anyway, I greatly enjoy the lactic acid flavor more from living bacteria in my beer rather than flavors passed on from a grain. Rant done, sorry.... :)

Ross
10/06/10 10:36 PM  
Re: Why not use Acid Malt for all Lactic Acid Need
I use acidulated malt quite a bit in my brewing but only for pH adjustment. Generaly just a couple of ounces does the trick. I have found it to be of a harsh sourness when used in high quanities so it may not be the "type" of sourness you want. It really has the tongue on a 9 volt battery tang to it.
tankdeer
10/07/10 10:57 AM  
Re: Why not use Acid Malt for all Lactic Acid Need
<<Anyway, I greatly enjoy the lactic acid flavor more from living bacteria in my beer rather than flavors passed on from a grain. >>

Nail on the head right there my friend. :)

Almighty
10/07/10 11:23 AM  
Re: Why not use Acid Malt for all Lactic Acid Need
Well from what I have read the lactic acid that is in the grain is from the living bacteria. The grain is put through a sour mash and then kilned. So I wonder if it is the kilning process that changes the flavor.

Also does anyone have any idea the amount of lactic acid in the grains? This way it would be much easier to predict your mash pH.

jaymo
10/07/10 11:53 AM  
Re: Why not use Acid Malt for all Lactic Acid Need
It should contain around 1-2% lactic acid by weight.
G. Alanko
10/08/10 12:13 AM  
Re: Why not use Acid Malt for all Lactic Acid Need
"Nail on the head right there my friend. :)"

I know where you're coming from. I've tried both sour malt and food-grade lactic and the sourness I got out definitely lacked complexity. The food grade acid was notable for adding a caramel or toffee note that made me wonder if there's a bit of diacetyl in it.

Still, I need to play around with a sour malt beer that's brett fermented. I think that approach has promise, since the brett should metabolize some of the acid and add complexity.

sl8w
10/08/10 03:16 PM  
Re: Why not use Acid Malt for all Lactic Acid Need
I've experimented with live commercial lacto cultures, sour mashes, large acid malt additions, and commercial lactic acid. My favorite too are the live cultures, but I admit that I often end up using lactic acid. I have had the least success with large acid malt additions. I've used up to 15% acid malt, most added at the end of the mash after conversion, but have not gotten the sourness I wanted. I suspect that the buffing power of the water and the fermentation process may have had something to do with it. Lactic acid additions, after fermentation, seem much easier and more controllable.

I don't often use lactic acid as a sole source of souring (for example, in a berliner weiss). Instead, I most often use it in conjuction with some other acids, such as a fruit beer fermented with a non-souring yeast. I may even add a touch of vinegar for further complexity.

Almighty
10/08/10 06:03 PM  
Re: Why not use Acid Malt for all Lactic Acid Need
Thanks for the feedback. I guess I will have to do a bit of side by side experimentation to know what works for me.
 
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