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Acid malt for taste contribution

While acid malt can be used for ph adjustments in the mash, I was wondering if anyone has experience here using it for flavor.

I thought that some brewers use a little acid malt for a certain tartness, tangy, sourish character.
Is this true? Anyone here have any experience with that? If so, how much?

I asked the question elsewhere and came away with the impression that the use of acid malt was dangerous and could mess up the ph of the mash and it was NOT to be used for flavor contribution.

Always interesting to see what other groups of brewers have to say.
Thanks for your thoughts.

Ithaca beer uses acid malt as like 10-15% of the grist for Brute. They use it for a controlled amount of sourness and Brett for the funk. I believe their mash pH is lower than you’d normally encounter but I don’t know anything about how they deal with it. I think commercial brewers often mash at a lower pH than we do because it helps shelf stability. My experience has been that acid malt has a big impact on pH and that you’ve really committed by putting it in the mix. I usually aim to use a little less than I think I’ll need and then adjust with lactic acid. You could also grind it seperately and then mix it in to adjust. For that matter, you could add more at the end of the mash and let it rest for another 10 min before sparging.

I use acid malt for my irish stout. I don’t remember the exact recipe, but it is something like 12 lbs 2-row, 2 lbs roasted barley, 3 lbs either oatmeal or flaked barley, and 4 oz of acid malt. Bitter with 4 oz goldings at 60 min and pitch S-04 on it. Best dry stout I have made to date. Starting gravity should be around 1.040. The final product has a nice sour tang to it. This is for a 10 gallon recipe.

I frequently use 1-3 ounces in the mash for pH adjustment, but would be very leary of trying to use it for flavor. Chew just one kernal of the stuff and you’ll see why. Powerful.

It depends on what type or strength of sourness you’re looking for. I’ve used 4 ounces or so in a stout and thought it was good. I tried using 1.5# in a fruity berliner/Dogfish Peche type clone (most added after conversion), and it wasn’t sour enough so I ended up adding more lactic acid. I often add 6 ounces or so in brett beers to adjust the pH and give some complexity.

Personally, I’ve found that if I want acid flavors and don’t want to mess with bugs, using acid malt or lactic acid in combination with some other acids (vinegar, etc.) helps a lot.

A local brewer here in the Chicago area won the Sam Adams longshot with his Kolsch. He’s one of my close brew buds and he told me how much he experimented with the recipe. He started experimenting with acidulated malt and found that 4 ounces was below his taste threshold in the Kolsch. When he upped the amount to 6 ounces (in 5 gallons) he said that it added the perfect amount of twang. I have been using it in small amounts to see how it effects mash pH but I was also thinking of using 6-8 ounces of it along with something like Nottingham (which some brewers told me had a bit of a sourness to it) and/or some lactic acid to make a pseudo-sour/tart beer. I plan to play with this a little bit next spring to make a wheat beer of sorts that has some sourness or tartness. If you put a few kernels of the acid malt in your mouth, you can get a feel for what kind of flavor you’ll get. The tricky part is determining how much of the grain to use in the style of beer you’re making. Good luck.

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