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Measuring Sour Beer Acidity

sour beer acidity check

Brewers have been making sour beers for centuries, and the art of creating these delicious concoctions is still being perfected. However, it's only recently that we have developed the ability to measure beer acidity accurately, which has quickly become one of the most important aspects of sour beer brewing.

In this blog post, we will discuss the different ways to measure the acidity in sour beer and how it affects the flavor. We will also provide some tips on how to adjust your sour beer's pH level to get the desired results.

First, Why Does Tracking pH in Sour Beer Matter?

pH is short for "potential hydrogen" and is a scale that runs from 0-14, with 0 being the most acidic, 14 being the most basic, and seven being neutral. pH is important in beer brewing because it affects everything from flavor to stability. Most beer falls between four and six on the pH scale.

Sour beer, by definition, is more acidic than average. The style can range from pleasantly tart to mouth-puckeringly sour and often holds notes of citrus. For beer drinkers, that beer acidity is often part of the appeal. For brewers, though, it can be a challenge. That's because too much acidity can make a beer undrinkable.

By monitoring acidity, brewers can easily track the progress of acid-producing bacteria and make adjustments to the beer as needed. There are a few different ways to measure beer acidity, but the most common methods are pH meter and titration acidity (TA) kit. Let's take a deeper dive into each of them below.

Understanding pH Meters and Titration Acidity (TA) Kits

Depending on your beer type or style, you may have heard terms like "pH" and "titratable acidity" (TA) bandied about. These two beer brewing measurements are important for many beer styles, especially for sour beers. In this post, we will explore what pH meter and TA kit are and the roles they play in measuring beer acidity.

pH Meter

A pH meter is a device that measures the hydrogen ion concentration in beer and gives a reliable indication of sour beer pH acidity. To use a pH meter, beer is placed into a sample cup, and the pH electrode is inserted. The electrode measures the beer's acidity and displays the results on a digital readout. 

There are many different types of pH meters available on the market, but for sour beer brewing, it is important to choose a meter that is accurate to at least 0.01 pH units. This accuracy is necessary because beer acidity can range from below pH three to above pH four and even a small difference in acidity can have a big impact on the flavor of sour beer. 

When choosing a pH meter, it is also important to consider ease of use and cost. Many brewers find that pocket-sized meters are the most convenient to use, but they can be more expensive than larger benchtop models. Whichever type of pH meter you choose, make sure to calibrate it according to the manufacturer's instructions before each use.

Titration Acidity (TA) Kits

checking sour beer pH level

A TA kit is the easiest way to measure beer acidity. The beer is mixed with an indicator solution, which changes color in the presence of acid. The beer's pH is then determined by comparing the beer's color to a standard chart. TA kits are available from a number of suppliers, and they usually come with everything you need to get started.

However, TA kits have some limitations. 

  • They only measure the acidity in the beer, not pH
  • The indicator solution can be affected by other beer components, like hops and malt 
  • TA kits are not very accurate at high acidities 

While TA kits are the easiest way to measure beer acidity, they're not always the most accurate. For a more accurate measurement, you can use a sour beer pH meter. pH meters are more expensive than TA kits, but they're much more precise. One unique thing about Titration Acidity (TA) kits is that they correlate better to how the beer is perceived on the palate. 

This is because acidity can vary depending on where it is being measured in the beer. For example, a beer's pH will be different at the surface than it will be at the bottom of the beer. The beer's pH will also be different if it is measured before or after the beer has been carbonated. 

So, while a TA kit may not give you an accurate measurement of a beer's actual acidity, it will give you a more accurate measurement of how that beer will taste. If you're looking for a more precise measurement of beer acidity, you'll need to use a pH meter. However, if you're just looking for an easy way to measure acidity in sour beer, a TA kit is the way to go.

Learn More About Craft Beer and Home Brewing

If you're a homebrewer interested in using fruit purees in your beer, you'll want to know how to measure the acidity of your craft beer. This is important because beer is a delicate balance of sweetness, bitterness, and acidity. You'll want to be sure that your home-brewed beer has the perfect balance of flavor, aroma, and overall stability. 

At Fierce Fruit, we not only bring you the highest quality fruit purees, but we're also here to help you along your beer brewing journey. Keep reading to learn more about creating your own craft beers and how to measure sour beer pH. Get in touch to learn more about beer acidity.

 

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