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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: HoosierBrew on January 30, 2013, 12:06:14 AM

Title: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 30, 2013, 12:06:14 AM
Hi All,

    I'm a long time brewer, noob to the forum. I recently made the switch from fly to batch sparging, where, so far, I've had good luck and love the time savings. My question is , do I need to worry about adjusting sparge water pH in batch sparging ?  I adjust mash pH via Bru'n Water. My understanding was that sparge pH worries are greatly reduced in this method. Thanks !
Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: greatplainsbrewer on January 30, 2013, 12:46:38 AM
I'm a batch sparger that uses bruunwater for both the mash and the sparge.  Not sure if the pH is a big deal on the sparge but it is easy to do and some beers I want my sulfates or chlorides in a certain place.  YMMV
Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: hoser on January 30, 2013, 01:04:36 AM
I usually just adjust my sparge pH to about 6. Your mash pH is usually pretty set and will not fluctuate much with the batch sparge.  At least that is what I do and that works for me.  If I am using R/O I generally don't do anything and just add salts to the boil kettle.
Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: a10t2 on January 30, 2013, 01:08:42 AM
If you're in Indiana, then you likely have really alkaline tap water, so you could end up with a high enough sparge pH to be a problem, depending on the acidifying potential of that particular grist. If nothing else, it's probably worth checking the sparge pH, at least a couple times.
Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 30, 2013, 01:42:10 AM
Yeah -   The tap water here is horrendous. I use RO exclusively. A much better base.
Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: theDarkSide on January 30, 2013, 01:14:38 PM
I'm a batch sparger and never have adjusted my sparge water.  I do add the additions for the sparge water to the boil kettle.
Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 30, 2013, 01:22:08 PM
That had been my method so far, with good results.  Appreciate it !
Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: redbeerman on January 30, 2013, 01:37:54 PM
I have found that I only need to adjust my sparge water pH when I am brewing lighter colored beers (pilsner, helles, some paler ales, saison, etc.) .  My well water is fairly alkaline and high in mineral content, even diluted it sometimes needs adjustment.
Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: Jimmy K on January 30, 2013, 02:29:28 PM
It is not nearly as important because you're mixing all of the sparge water with all of the grains all at once - unlike fly sparging where that last bit of sparge water is going through grains that have little left in them to alter the pH of the water.  But if your water is particularly bad...
Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: denny on January 30, 2013, 05:19:36 PM
Because Bru'nwater recommends what sparge additions should be, I've tried it a few times.  I don't really taste any difference in the finished beers.  I'm still undecided, but my gut feeling is that I don't need to adjust the sparge water.  Other people with different water might. Of course, you can find out for yourself by simply measuring what your sparge pH is both with and without adjustment.
Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: mabrungard on January 30, 2013, 05:30:37 PM
If you have relatively low alkalinity in your water, then you may not have to adjust your sparging water.  If the water has more significant alkalinity, you could easily have tannin and kettle pH problems if you don't reduce the sparging water alkalinity.  This is one of those, "it depends" questions.

Although you don't have to add the calculated mineral additions to the sparging water (you could add them directly to the kettle), I think that it could be wise to add the calcium containing minerals to the sparging water to help complex with any tannins from the grain and further reduce astringency problems in the beer.  This is one of those things that I don't know for sure, but it can't hurt.  Therefore, I do recommend that those calcium-containing minerals be added to the sparging water instead of directly to the kettle.   
Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: denny on January 30, 2013, 05:31:53 PM
Martin, IIRC you fly sparge.  Is that correct?  If so, have you tried batch sparging to see how it compares pH wise on the sparge?
Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: redbeerman on January 30, 2013, 05:45:56 PM
Because Bru'nwater recommends what sparge additions should be, I've tried it a few times.  I don't really taste any difference in the finished beers.  I'm still undecided, but my gut feeling is that I don't need to adjust the sparge water.  Other people with different water might. Of course, you can find out for yourself by simply measuring what your sparge pH is both with and without adjustment.

Bingo!
Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: HoosierBrew on January 30, 2013, 06:15:26 PM
It makes sense to add the kettle addition to the sparge water just to be safe anyway. I have noticed no astringency issues since the switch to batch sparging, but I don't want any either. Thanks Martin !
Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: denny on January 30, 2013, 06:42:14 PM
It makes sense to add the kettle addition to the sparge water just to be safe anyway. I have noticed no astringency issues since the switch to batch sparging, but I don't want any either. Thanks Martin !

If I add anything to the sparge, it's only lactic acid.  Any other recommended sparge additions go in the kettle.
Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: mabrungard on January 30, 2013, 09:22:33 PM
Martin, IIRC you fly sparge.  Is that correct?  If so, have you tried batch sparging to see how it compares pH wise on the sparge?

I've only fly sparged in all my brews. (BTW, I finally passed the century mark with last week's brew. :-)  It pales in comparison to Denny's 400+ batches, but I'm working on it). 

I wouldn't think the pH results should differ between fly and batch sparging.  The same volume of water is pushed through the grain bed and the same quantity of buffering from the malt is exhausted. Interesting question though.
Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: denny on January 30, 2013, 09:25:05 PM
Martin, IIRC you fly sparge.  Is that correct?  If so, have you tried batch sparging to see how it compares pH wise on the sparge?

I've only fly sparged in all my brews. (BTW, I finally passed the century mark with last week's brew. :-)  It pales in comparison to Denny's 400+ batches, but I'm working on it). 

I wouldn't think the pH results should differ between fly and batch sparging.  The same volume of water is pushed through the grain bed and the same quantity of buffering from the malt is exhausted. Interesting question though.

I've found that if my mash pH is good, the pH through the sparge is almost always good with no water modification.  I have fairly neutral water, though, so that undoubtedly has some bearing.  If you decide to take the plunge into batch sparging a batch or 2, I'd be curious to hear what you find.
Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: hamiltont on January 30, 2013, 10:00:27 PM
My well water is pretty alkaline.  Last year I had a couple brews turn out a bit on the astringent side and I attributed it to the unadjusted sparge water (Batch Sparge). Since that time I adjust it with lactic acid to get the pH down around 6.5 and have not had the problem since. For comparison here's what my water looks like from Ward Labs:

pH 7.6
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 274
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm  0.46
Cations / Anions, me/L 5.2 / 5.1

Sodium, Na 7
Potassium, K 5
Calcium, Ca 77
Magnesium, Mg 10
Total Hardness, CaCO3 234
Nitrate, NO3-N 1.0 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO4-S 3
Chloride, Cl 5
Carbonate, CO3 <1
Bicarbonate, HCO3 287
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 236

Title: Re: Batch Sparging pH
Post by: denny on January 30, 2013, 10:18:12 PM
Much more alkaline than my water.  I'm going to try to check the unadjusted sparge pH of my next few batches and compare to the mash pH.