Author Topic: Update on Beersmith acid additions + questions  (Read 3152 times)

Offline matthiery

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Update on Beersmith acid additions + questions
« on: March 30, 2021, 02:44:01 AM »
Hi all,

I'd like to have some information about lactic acid additions. I saw on several comments dating back to 2018 that Beersmith's recommendations on acid additions had to be lowered, because BS overestimates the amount of acid need (so if BS says 1 unit, actually just use 0.2 or 0.25 unit). Is this still the case now, or has this been fixed?

Also, I'll use this opportunity to ask a couple of questions: mash PH needs to be in the correct range for enzymatic reactions, which primarily take place during the mash, and basically stop anfter the enzymes are denatured at the end of the mash, when sparging starts (78?C denatures the enzymes, and makes them stop working, if I'm not mistaken?). So my question is: if this is right, it makes sense to modify only your mash water, and not your sparge water, right?

Also, quantities wise, I'm planning on brewing the same Pils twice, one with modified water, the other one with unmodified water, to see the difference. To get the "adjusted mash ph" box down to 5.37, I wrote in that I would add 1.5 grammes of calcium chloride, and 0.5 grammes of calcium sulfate, and also 1 teaspoon of lactic acid (total in mash water, not per liter or gallons.). I brew on Grainfather 30 litres, so my mash water will be 16 litres, and my sparge water as well. I have calculated that this will amount to 1.16 mL of lactic acid per US gallon i the mash water. Does this seem to make sense?

And finally, to conclude, if the answer to my first question is "yes BS does overestimate the quantity of acid that you need to use by a factor of 4 or 5", then that means I basically just need a quarter of a teaspoon, and not a full one. If the answer is no, then I'll just proceed with a teaspoon, and see what happens.

Sorry for a lengthy post,
thanks to all that help,
cheers everyone!

Offline joeinma

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Re: Update on Beersmith acid additions + questions
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2021, 01:46:50 PM »
Are you using BeerSmith 2 or 3?  The lactic acid issue has been fixed in version 3, and it added a Bru'n Water pH model so that you can select between the MPH one that was the main one in the past, or the BNW water one.

To answer your first question, while sparge water does not need mineral additions, it is usually recommended to adjust the pH of sparge water to around 5.5 if you have hard tap water, as while mash pH is very important, you don't want your post mash wort pH to rise. 

As for lactic, 1.16 per US gallon?  So 16 liters is about 4.25 gallons, so you are adding almost 5 ml of lactic if I read that right?   Seems like a lot, but not super crazy.  I do full mash, no sparge, so I am  mashing all my water, which is around 28.4 liters and last Pils I did, I only needed 1.3 ml of lactic total.   But I also used 3.5 grams of Calcium Chloride and 2.4 of gypsum to drive pH down,

I would recommend going with 1/3 of a teaspoon of lactic, and then check your pH after 20 minutes, if too high, then add the rest.

Offline matthiery

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Re: Update on Beersmith acid additions + questions
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2021, 04:58:15 AM »

thanks for your fast reply, and sorry for my late own reply, I was out in the woods for a few days, and hadn't seen it before.
To answer your question, yes I use BS3. If I understand correctly, the default water tool in BS3 has been fixed for the lactic acid issue, AND we can use the Bu'n water tool as well? Well, life is good then :) That's great info, thanks!
However, I could not find how to select the Bru'n water tool or the BS tool in the Water section of BS3. It's not in the water section,nor in the options section... Could you please point out to me how to do this?

Also, yes, I was going to use 5 ml of lactic acid for 16 liters of mash water, but none for sparge water... I'll dig into this a bit more. According to BS3, my calcium chloride additions were not sufficient to get the mash ph down to the right level, so I need quite a bit of lactic acid to get down to 5.37 ph points in the mash...I'd also want to avoid my water tasting minerally with too much calcium chloride... I also read that 1 mL of lactic acid per gallon was "safe" from flavor effects...

And finally, I could have added my water chemistry levels in the previous post, really...:
PH 7; Calcium 45.7; Magnesium 12.3; Sodium 87.9; Sulfate 46; Chloride 83; Bicarbonate 29.6 I don't think that counts as particularly hard water? Or at least, my beers do taste ok without sparge modification so far, but I don't know what you think about this in light of the numbers I just wrote?

Generally speaking, I quite like a Sulfate to Chloride ratio that tends towards maltiness, but I've never tried to increase the sulfate to give the beer a more hoppy character, I might just try that next... I read some posts by people who were saying that it was one of the largest imprvement they had done towards a better IPA...

Thanks a lot for your very fast reply,

Offline bougie1st

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Re: Update on Beersmith acid additions + questions
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2021, 08:21:15 PM »
Hi Matt

To select between Bru'n water and the other model, go to you mash tab. You'll see "final mash ph adjustments" in the bottom right corner. In "acid model", you can choose from BNW (Bru'n water) and MPH 3 (the other model).

5 mL isn't a crazy amount - it depends on your water. I still find that I need something in between these 2 models - I usually select BNW, aim for 5.2, test about 10-20 mins in the mash and then add some more.

Best of luck