Brew Mash TonBrewing & Distilling

Food-Grade Acids in the Brewery

Brewers use food-grade acids for various applications, including pH control, especially in the mash and sparge water. A pH of 5.2 is what most brewers target to achieve in order to get the best enzymatic activity out of the malt and get the highest percentage of malt extract efficiency (fermentable sugar for yeast) in the mash.

One of the most popular food-grade acids used in brewing to acidify mash and sparge water is 88% Lactic Acid. Lately, however, the lactic acid market has become extremely tight. There will continue to be food-grade lactic acid shortages for the foreseeable future.

What are the other options that exist if lactic acid cannot be sourced?

75% Phosphoric Acid
Phosphoric acid, 75% food grade, takes much less to drop the pH and is actually a better choice than lactic acid for most English and American-Style hoppy pale ales and India Pale Ales.

Birko’s Diactolate is citric acid and is also an option and is popular with distillers because it is safe for cleaning copper stills and columns. Diactolate is also being used for hard seltzer production as well to keep the pH low enough, so organisms are not able to survive the lower alcohol levels found in many hard seltzers.

View our full product list for more cleaning and sanitation options.

Have questions about process aids and sanitation issues? Birko is here for you. Please let us know how we can help!