Lactic Acid in brews

Reads 2257 • Replies 21 • Started Friday, September 21, 2012 11:53:01 AM CT

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beers 2052 º places 169 º 11:53 Fri 9/21/2012

I have been told and read that some breweries use lactic acid in beer (for souring) and also to clean tanks and other equipment.

One thing I have plenty of access to (albeit in large volumes) is lactic acid due to my job.

I would be interested in trying this in some home brews if there is any evidence/guidance/support from this forum as I am not incredibly knowledgeable or experienced with homebrew projects aside from the very basics.


11:57 Fri 9/21/2012

Though I’ve not done it myself, those that have done this type of thing have reported that they ended up with very one-dimensional sourness. You can look on Oldsock’s blog The Mad Fermentationist and he has some good info on it there.

beers 2052 º places 169 º 12:08 Fri 9/21/2012

What about the prospects of breweries or homebrewers using it for cleaning?

beers 2120 º places 50 º 12:20 Fri 9/21/2012

I haven’t heard of adding lactic acid to a recipe. I’ve brewed several sour beers, but it’s lactic bacteria like acidopholous that creates the acid for me.

I don’t know anything about using it for cleaning, sorry. My guess is that if it contains any of the souring bacteria, brewers would be very nervous using it. Rather, that’s the stuff you’re trying to clean away...

12:34 Fri 9/21/2012

Lactic acid can be used for lowering the mash pH, oftentimes in pale beers, eg, helles.

beers 3439 º places 209 º 12:36 Fri 9/21/2012

Most people use Phosphoric acid to clean with.

beers 2585 º places 182 º 15:41 Fri 9/21/2012

We use lactic acid to passivate new stainless steel in the brewery. But for cleaning, we use a nitric-phosphoric blend cleaner. You use acid cleaner to get rid of mineral build up like beer stone. It isn’t good for cleaning organic residue, which is your standard soiling in a kettle or fermentor. For that you need an alkaline cleaner like PBW or caustic.

As far as in beer, I’ve had good berliner weisse that was soured with lactic acid, and it’s great for lowering mash pH. I say give it a shot.

beers 2332 º places 7 º 16:02 Fri 9/21/2012

I’m also quite curious about brewing a Berliner Weisse with Lactic Acid. They say it give a boring profile compared to the sour mash method (see Joe Mcphee’s recipe) but I’m still curious to see how it goes. I’ve read about someone who won a BJCP homebrew competition with a lactic acid based BW...

beers 2166 º places 63 º 08:07 Mon 9/24/2012

Originally posted by nathanjohnson
Lactic acid can be used for lowering the mash pH, oftentimes in pale beers, eg, helles.

Yes. It is the alternative to using acidulated malt, which as been sprayed with it. The malt is probably a bit more convenient to measure, less convenient to store.

beers 1603 º places 353 º 08:43 Mon 9/24/2012

You guys have much experience with acid/sour malt? I want to start playing with some of these crazy tropical fruits down here, and I think a simple tart Berliner base is the way to go. Suggestions for malt bills?

beers 1251 º 08:55 Mon 9/24/2012

I used lactic acid in my last pilsner to treat all the mash water down to 6.0 prior to mash in and sparge. Worked well. great flavor profile.

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