Author Topic: PH adjustments  (Read 1064 times)

Offline wort-h.o.g.

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PH adjustments
« on: April 09, 2013, 09:31:32 AM »
So I'm considering changing my process for adjusting my PH. I currently run the recipe in bru'nwater, and use RO water. Basically, every recipe lands somewhere between 5.2-5.5, after brewing salt additions. because i use RO water, any lactic acid additions are usually very small (buffering capacity low), and can often be difficult to estimate its impact on the final PH of the collected wort.

I'm considering collecting my wort, taking a final PH reading, and then if necessary add lactic acid to the wort to obtain the desired PH. Anyone have any considerations or comments for going about my PH adjustment this way?

Thanks

Offline mabrungard

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Re: PH adjustments
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2013, 10:50:35 AM »
That is one way to do it, but you can alter the character of you wort if the pH in the mash is outside the 'desirable' range of 5.2 to 5.6.  Correcting the pH of the wort in the kettle helps avoid some other problems for the beer taste and character, but if that mash pH was way out, then those problems may not be correctable.  In general, keeping the mashing and sparging pH within range will avoid any need to correct the wort in the kettle.  By the way, a 5.2 mash pH is getting kind of low.  It can be OK for some styles and detrimental in others.
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Offline wort-h.o.g.

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Re: PH adjustments
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2013, 11:08:16 AM »
That is one way to do it, but you can alter the character of you wort if the pH in the mash is outside the 'desirable' range of 5.2 to 5.6.  Correcting the pH of the wort in the kettle helps avoid some other problems for the beer taste and character, but if that mash pH was way out, then those problems may not be correctable.  In general, keeping the mashing and sparging pH within range will avoid any need to correct the wort in the kettle.  By the way, a 5.2 mash pH is getting kind of low.  It can be OK for some styles and detrimental in others.

Martin- understood and what you state makes sense. I listed 5.2-5.5 as a typical PH for my recipes - in consideration of the grain and brewing salts with RO water. A wort of 5.2 is for something light, perhaps more tart - not for my medium to darker beers that are in the 5.3-5.6 range. My typical lactic acid addition is when my recipe and brewing salts do not bring the PH to 5.2-5.3 for certain beer styles. At that point, it can be difficult to accurately account for the lactic acid addition, the grain, and the brewing salts because the lactic acid additions are usually very small - < 2ml per 5 gallons mash water. i ran into this issue the other day -  bru'nwater called for 2ml of lactic acid to my 5-gallon mash water. when i added it, it dropped the Ph to 4.5, and I didn't think that could be right considering once added to the grains, it would drop even further. I dumped the water and just added brewing salts this time, and my wort ended up about PH 5.5, however my target Ph was 5.3.  So it got me thinking id let the mash and brewing salts land where they would (as long as the range was between 5.2-5.6), and then if necessary adjust the wort up or down .1 -.3 to get my target PH. 


Offline mabrungard

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Re: PH adjustments
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2013, 11:15:46 AM »
Um?????

The mash system is a huge buffer.  Adding acid to RO water WITHOUT any malt in there is likely to drop the pH out of sight.  But adding that same amount of acid to the malt AND water is more likely to produce the intended pH. 

There was no need to dump out that acidified water even though its pH was far lower than your intended mash pH.  If you had added the malt, the mash pH would likely have BUFFERED its way back to the intended pH. 
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Offline wort-h.o.g.

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Re: PH adjustments
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2013, 11:24:03 AM »
Um?????

The mash system is a huge buffer.  Adding acid to RO water WITHOUT any malt in there is likely to drop the pH out of sight.  But adding that same amount of acid to the malt AND water is more likely to produce the intended pH. 

There was no need to dump out that acidified water even though its pH was far lower than your intended mash pH.  If you had added the malt, the mash pH would likely have BUFFERED its way back to the intended pH.

Sorry for the long winded response before - i just wasn't sure if i was explaining everything clearly.

Anyway, that's good info that I didnt realize about RO water and lactic acid PH prior to adding the malt -  i never took a Ph reading of the water before, and probably shouldn't have based upon what you have said. i guess I got nervous that the acid addition amount was wrong.....lesson learned.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2013, 11:40:41 AM by wort-h.o.g. »

Offline hubie

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Re: PH adjustments
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2013, 05:49:16 AM »
In a practical sense, what is the best way to add acid to the mash?  Since it would be such a small volume of liquid, do you put that on top of the mash and stir the heck out of it, or do you run off some volume of liquid, add it to that, then dump that into the tun and stir?

Offline redbeerman

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Re: PH adjustments
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2013, 07:02:51 AM »
In a practical sense, what is the best way to add acid to the mash?  Since it would be such a small volume of liquid, do you put that on top of the mash and stir the heck out of it, or do you run off some volume of liquid, add it to that, then dump that into the tun and stir?

I add it to the mash and stir it a bunch.  I always stir a lot though, even if there is no acid addition.  It really doesn't take much for it to diffuse throughout. 
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: PH adjustments
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2013, 08:08:29 AM »
In a practical sense, what is the best way to add acid to the mash?  Since it would be such a small volume of liquid, do you put that on top of the mash and stir the heck out of it, or do you run off some volume of liquid, add it to that, then dump that into the tun and stir?

I just add it to the strike water as it's coming up to temp along with any mash salts that I am using. It's all going in there so I don't worry to much that some salts won't disolve in the plain water or anything. If I was heating all my water at once and only mashing in with a portion I might reserve my salts for the actual tun just to be sure they are well mixed and disolved.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: PH adjustments
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2013, 08:14:12 AM »
I just add it to the strike water as it's coming up to temp along with any mash salts that I am using. It's all going in there so I don't worry to much that some salts won't disolve in the plain water or anything.

Same here. I BIAB/no-sparge, so this is the simplest way to go for me. I usually measure my water, salts and acid into my kettle the night before, so I just have to turn the burner on first thing in the morning.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: PH adjustments
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2013, 08:48:58 AM »
Yes, adding the acid to the water along with the salts is fine.  Sure, the pH of that water might be lower than you expect (in comparison to a mash pH), but it all works out once the grain is added for the mash.
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Offline hubie

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Re: PH adjustments
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2013, 11:51:48 AM »
I was thinking more along the lines of the case where I wanted/needed to adjust the mash pH after the water has been added.

Offline mmitchem

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Re: PH adjustments
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2013, 12:13:04 PM »
I look at it in terms of the total. The water, the grain and the salts/acid together are what determines pH. Add one before the other, or after and it is still the sum of all parts. Right?
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