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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: Slackjawls on August 27, 2017, 06:41:38 AM

Title: When to check mash pH
Post by: Slackjawls on August 27, 2017, 06:41:38 AM
I hear a lot about how important it is to for your mash pH to be in the proper range (approx. 5.3-5.6).  So when do you check?  Right after you ad your grains to the strike water, after ten minutes, half way through?  It seems like every interview and every article I read simply says check your mash pH.  My tap water is around 7.3 year round.  I've never checked my mash pH but every local brewer I talk to says we have great water and they don't make adjustments.
Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: Stepp2 on August 27, 2017, 06:59:36 AM
Great question. There must be a time between when mash in water pH transitions into mash water pH. Brewnwater gets me in the 5.2 range with 100% RO and salts every time I check. But I still check. What is the best time to check pH?


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Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: Slackjawls on August 27, 2017, 07:04:36 AM
So you are adjusting your RO strike water differently every time based on your grain bill?  Do you ever check your strike water pH?
Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 27, 2017, 11:12:47 AM
You need to stir the mash gently, somthat the temperature is even and you don't have dough balls. Check mash temperature and adjust. That takes me about 10 minutes. I pull a sample and cool it, then check pH. So it is close to 15 minutes after all of the strike water is in.

Water pH means very little. Mash pH means a lot.

No water is good for all beer styles. I have heard that too around here if the brewery is on the Detroit water system. That water comes from Lake Huron or the Detroit River. It has moderate alkalinity, and does not make a crisp Pilsner. It does make good Amber colored beers. The roasted grains used in stouts are acidic, and might drive the pH too low with that water. Google Brunwater and read the water knowledge section.

Do any of the breweries around you use Gypsum or Calcium Chloride? When in a brewery, I look around, and often see 50 lb. bags of those. The Calcium addition from those two salts lowers the mash pH, often into the correct range.
Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: dmtaylor on August 27, 2017, 11:53:27 AM
My experience is that you really need to wait at least 10 minutes or maybe 15 after mashing in before you get an accurate reading.  Before that, things are still equilizing in the mash.
Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: majorvices on August 27, 2017, 12:08:56 PM
I always wait 10 min and cool the sample. I'm only doing a 20 minute mash on most beers so I have too cool it as quickly as possible. fortunately I very rarely ever have to make corrections.
Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: denny on August 27, 2017, 03:42:30 PM
I always wait 10 min and cool the sample. I'm only doing a 20 minute mash on most beers so I have too cool it as quickly as possible. fortunately I very rarely ever have to make corrections.

I think we need to clarify that you're doing a 20 min. mash in a commercial situation.  Mashing in an lautering take a lot of time and you're still in conversion range. (Am I interpreting you correctly?).  Most homebrewers will want to mash for longer than 20 min.
Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: majorvices on August 27, 2017, 03:49:55 PM
I always wait 10 min and cool the sample. I'm only doing a 20 minute mash on most beers so I have too cool it as quickly as possible. fortunately I very rarely ever have to make corrections.

I think we need to clarify that you're doing a 20 min. mash in a commercial situation.  Mashing in an lautering take a lot of time and you're still in conversion range. (Am I interpreting you correctly?).  Most homebrewers will want to mash for longer than 20 min.

I think you could get by mashing 20 minutes on a small batch too. granted, I do vorlauf for another 20 minutes but I raise my temp up to about 156-158 and I'm getting 90 efficiency. One of you should experiment with a 20 minute mash.
Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: denny on August 27, 2017, 04:11:09 PM
I always wait 10 min and cool the sample. I'm only doing a 20 minute mash on most beers so I have too cool it as quickly as possible. fortunately I very rarely ever have to make corrections.

I think we need to clarify that you're doing a 20 min. mash in a commercial situation.  Mashing in an lautering take a lot of time and you're still in conversion range. (Am I interpreting you correctly?).  Most homebrewers will want to mash for longer than 20 min.

I think you could get by mashing 20 minutes on a small batch too. granted, I do vorlauf for another 20 minutes but I raise my temp up to about 156-158 and I'm getting 90 efficiency. One of you should experiment with a 20 minute mash.

I have...20 min. mash followed by 20 min. boil.  Worked fine, but I prefer the extra fermentability from a longer mash.
Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: mabrungard on August 27, 2017, 04:31:57 PM
 Definitely don't check mash pH in the first 10 minutes. Those reactions take a little while to occur. The pH will change during the course of a mash. It is the final pH that's most important.

It's also really important that the brewer mix all the minerals and acids into the water before adding the grain. It's really hard to mix all that stuff together evenly otherwise.

Given the prevalence of mediocre beer from various brewpubs, it should be no surprise that many brewers don't adjust their water. Don't be one of those brewers.
Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: SonnyK on August 27, 2017, 07:15:41 PM
Fantastic Question.  I've been trying to figure this out myself..

My theory (and it may be incorrect) is that I just try to get close to my "ideal" mash pH during the Mash with precise adjustment done pre-boil.  A limitation of my "brewhouse" (I use Igloo coolers to mash + sparge with) is the inability to adjust temperature during the Mash.  As a result, it's more important for my equipment + processes to ensure a stable temperature during the mash and nail pH after.  With that being said, I do check the pH of my tap water and record my LA addition to Strike Water before brewing and log it for every single brew.  That does help me make a very educated guess how much Lactic Acid to add to the Strike Water in order to get me close to my ideal mash pH (this is especially true if you brew the same recipe a few times).  I check a pH @ 15 minutes into the mash, and at the end of the Mash.  In my experience, I don't get much difference between 15 and 60 (or 90 minutes if I'm mashing very low for Belgians) minutes, especially with low lovibond malts.  At most, a 0.1 pH change.  Sometimes up to 0.3 with darker malts (I would probably check later with darker malts, i.e. in porters/stouts).

After I'm done with my Vorlauf, I always check my pre-boil gravity (be sure to adjust gravity for temperature at this stage- I use brewersfriend) and adjust to Goal Pre-Boil Gravity.  I know my efficiency very well and if anything, I just have to add a little bit of Water.  After the Gravity adjustment, I'll then take a pH reading and dial it in with LA to within 0.05 of my Goal (I use a MW102 pH meter, always calibrated at the start of the brew day).  I shoot for pre-boil pH of 5.2 with light beers (Hefe, IPA, Belgian Blonde/Tripel) and up to 5.5 with darker beers (Porter/Stout).  I usually shoot for somewhere in the middle if I'm brewing a beer with an SRM inbetween (i.e. Dubbel, Dunkelweizen)
Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: brewinhard on August 27, 2017, 09:51:36 PM
I take my mash pH reading at 30 minutes into the mash. (typically 60 min mash).
Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: brewsumore on August 29, 2017, 05:38:02 AM
Definitely don't check mash pH in the first 10 minutes. Those reactions take a little while to occur. The pH will change during the course of a mash. It is the final pH that's most important.

It's also really important that the brewer mix all the minerals and acids into the water before adding the grain. It's really hard to mix all that stuff together evenly otherwise.

Given the prevalence of mediocre beer from various brewpubs, it should be no surprise that many brewers don't adjust their water. Don't be one of those brewers.

Y'er darn tootin'!!  Give 'em Hell Harry!  I mean, Martin.
Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: stpug on August 29, 2017, 01:37:39 PM
I take my mash pH reading at 30 minutes into the mash. (typically 60 min mash).

I'll also take my reading at 30min into the mash - when I take a reading.  If I'm feeling extra spry I may take another at about 75min into the mash just to see what's going on.
Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: brewsumore on August 29, 2017, 05:12:37 PM
I check mine about 12 minutes after dough-in, and again at the end of the mash, and then often I check the kettle pH.  I use ColorpHast strips so it's quick and easy.  I check as soon as possible so that in case I need to make an adjustment that most of the conversion hasn't already taken place.  And I like to keep the picnic cooler mashtun lid down to maintain mash temp so normally only check once, and just crack the lid, re-checking mash temp same time.
Title: When to check mash pH
Post by: BrewBama on August 29, 2017, 07:50:36 PM
I plug my grain bill into a calculator. In other words, I don't physically Ck the mash for pH. I go with the calculation. Close enough. Once closed, I don't open the mash/lauter tun until I drain it. I break up brew day into short blocks of time so that could be hours later. (I prep early -sometimes the night before, I mash in and close up the tun in the AM until I get the time to boil later in the day.)


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Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: juggabrew303 on August 29, 2017, 11:40:37 PM
Definitely don't check mash pH in the first 10 minutes. Those reactions take a little while to occur. The pH will change during the course of a mash. It is the final pH that's most important.

It's also really important that the brewer mix all the minerals and acids into the water before adding the grain. It's really hard to mix all that stuff together evenly otherwise.

Given the prevalence of mediocre beer from various brewpubs, it should be no surprise that many brewers don't adjust their water. Don't be one of those brewers.
Thanks Martin.  I was curious myself after my last kölsch where the mash PH 15min in was 5.17 and 5.3 at 60min.  I recall you/or someone else mentioning the PH will creep toward 5.4 toward end of mash...correct me if I'm wrong


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Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: PORTERHAUS on September 01, 2017, 10:13:51 PM
Definitely don't check mash pH in the first 10 minutes. Those reactions take a little while to occur. The pH will change during the course of a mash. It is the final pH that's most important.

It's also really important that the brewer mix all the minerals and acids into the water before adding the grain. It's really hard to mix all that stuff together evenly otherwise.

Given the prevalence of mediocre beer from various brewpubs, it should be no surprise that many brewers don't adjust their water. Don't be one of those brewers.
Thanks Martin.  I was curious myself after my last kölsch where the mash PH 15min in was 5.17 and 5.3 at 60min.  I recall you/or someone else mentioning the PH will creep toward 5.4 toward end of mash...correct me if I'm wrong.Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I think I remember hearing Martin say that as well, to the extent that either high or low the mash ph will drive to regulate itself towards 5.4

I have been checking twice just out of my own curiosity and just like the other night I had a mash ph at 10 mins or so that was around 5.3, half way through the mash it was still there. I do not do a lot of water adjustments other than using lactic acid, I wonder if it takes longer for the mash to change/stabilize when there are added salts or adjustments being made with the mash.

Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: brewsumore on September 01, 2017, 10:41:50 PM
Interesting.  Using ColorpHast strips I don't always check pH at the end of the mash but always 12 - 15 minutes into the mash.  When I do check pH at the end of the mash usually it's very close to the same reading I got the first time I checked it.
Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: curtdogg on September 02, 2017, 03:15:42 AM
Definitely don't check mash pH in the first 10 minutes. Those reactions take a little while to occur. The pH will change during the course of a mash. It is the final pH that's most important.

It's also really important that the brewer mix all the minerals and acids into the water before adding the grain. It's really hard to mix all that stuff together evenly otherwise.

Given the prevalence of mediocre beer from various brewpubs, it should be no surprise that many brewers don't adjust their water. Don't be one of those brewers.
Martin, do you acidify your sparge water?


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Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: mabrungard on September 02, 2017, 06:35:20 PM
Martin, do you acidify your sparge water?

Sparging water acidification is performed in order to reduce its alkalinity. I use RO water and it already has low alkalinity, so I don't need to acidify that sparging water. If I was using my high alkalinity tap water, I certainly would acidify. Its very helpful for beer quality to neutralize sparging water alkalinity to under 50 ppm as CaCO3. It's even better to knock that down to under 25 ppm.
Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: curtdogg on September 02, 2017, 07:27:17 PM
Martin, do you acidify your sparge water?

Sparging water acidification is performed in order to reduce its alkalinity. I use RO water and it already has low alkalinity, so I don't need to acidify that sparging water. If I was using my high alkalinity tap water, I certainly would acidify. Its very helpful for beer quality to neutralize sparging water alkalinity to under 50 ppm as CaCO3. It's even better to knock that down to under 25 ppm.
Great to kmow. I too use RO water and have not adjusted pH for sparge water.
I read a recipe that said to sparge with a pH of 6. I was under the assumption that reducing the pH of sparge water helped keep the boil pH I'm the range needed per the recipe.

Thanks.

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Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: curtdogg on September 26, 2017, 01:58:50 PM
Martin, do you acidify your sparge water?

Sparging water acidification is performed in order to reduce its alkalinity. I use RO water and it already has low alkalinity, so I don't need to acidify that sparging water. If I was using my high alkalinity tap water, I certainly would acidify. Its very helpful for beer quality to neutralize sparging water alkalinity to under 50 ppm as CaCO3. It's even better to knock that down to under 25 ppm.
by reducing the alkalinity are you in turn reducing the buffering capacity?


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Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: mabrungard on September 26, 2017, 04:38:13 PM
by reducing the alkalinity are you in turn reducing the buffering capacity?

That is correct. Alkalinity is another name for the activity of the carbonate buffer system in water. High alkalinity is evidence that there is a lot of carbonate species in the water. The species present in water is dependent upon the water's pH.

PS: Alkalinity is not the same as pH.
Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: curtdogg on September 26, 2017, 05:00:57 PM
by reducing the alkalinity are you in turn reducing the buffering capacity?

That is correct. Alkalinity is another name for the activity of the carbonate buffer system in water. High alkalinity is evidence that there is a lot of carbonate species in the water. The species present in water is dependent upon the water's pH.

PS: Alkalinity is not the same as pH.
Yes sir, I understand.
Acid reduces the buffering capacity so that the sparge water will not affect the ph of the mash.
RO already has decreased or no buffering capacity due to stripping of the minerals.

Lets say I want a target pre boil pH.
If adjusting the pH of the sparge is not ideal. How would I go about bringing the pH of the pre boil wory into my desired range? Is there a calculator you can reccomend.
I understand that once i added the salts and grain to the mash water I effectively increased the buffering capacity of the wort.

I'm probably overthinking this.
I really appreciate your time Martin, thank you.

Curtis.

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Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: denny on September 26, 2017, 06:30:50 PM
by reducing the alkalinity are you in turn reducing the buffering capacity?

That is correct. Alkalinity is another name for the activity of the carbonate buffer system in water. High alkalinity is evidence that there is a lot of carbonate species in the water. The species present in water is dependent upon the water's pH.

PS: Alkalinity is not the same as pH.
Yes sir, I understand.
Acid reduces the buffering capacity so that the sparge water will not affect the ph of the mash.
RO already has decreased or no buffering capacity due to stripping of the minerals.

Lets say I want a target pre boil pH.
If adjusting the pH of the sparge is not ideal. How would I go about bringing the pH of the pre boil wory into my desired range? Is there a calculator you can reccomend.
I understand that once i added the salts and grain to the mash water I effectively increased the buffering capacity of the wort.

I'm probably overthinking this.
I really appreciate your time Martin, thank you.

Curtis.

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I'm pretty sure Martin would recommend this.....https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/
Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: curtdogg on September 26, 2017, 06:40:20 PM
by reducing the alkalinity are you in turn reducing the buffering capacity?

That is correct. Alkalinity is another name for the activity of the carbonate buffer system in water. High alkalinity is evidence that there is a lot of carbonate species in the water. The species present in water is dependent upon the water's pH.

PS: Alkalinity is not the same as pH.
Yes sir, I understand.
Acid reduces the buffering capacity so that the sparge water will not affect the ph of the mash.
RO already has decreased or no buffering capacity due to stripping of the minerals.

Lets say I want a target pre boil pH.
If adjusting the pH of the sparge is not ideal. How would I go about bringing the pH of the pre boil wory into my desired range? Is there a calculator you can reccomend.
I understand that once i added the salts and grain to the mash water I effectively increased the buffering capacity of the wort.

I'm probably overthinking this.
I really appreciate your time Martin, thank you.

Curtis.

Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk

I'm pretty sure Martin would recommend this.....https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/
Yes sir, i do use that program but at the moment I dont have excel access.
Ive read through the instruction but dont recall anything about calculating how much acid per gallon to adjust pH.

Thanks Denny.

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Title: Re: When to check mash pH
Post by: syncopadence on October 10, 2017, 10:31:22 PM
Agreed with dmtaylor. I've always heard 10 minutes is a good amount of time.

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