Author Topic: PH too low  (Read 684 times)

Offline jstaudt88

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PH too low
« on: June 20, 2014, 03:11:00 PM »
I started working with water chemistry about 5 batches ago after 20 years of home brewing.  I am using EZWater.  (I looked at Brunwater too but the learning curve looked pretty steep)

I have a consistent problem with my pH being low.  Here is my last batch water sheet for a simple pale ale:

Starting Water (ppm):         
Ca:   10      
Mg:   2      
Na:   145      
Cl:   48      
SO4:   18      
CaCO3:   273      
         
Mash / Sparge Vol (gal):   3.5   /   5.5
RO or distilled %:   50%   /   50%
         
Total Grain (lb):   9.5      
         
Adjustments (grams) Mash / Boil Kettle:         
CaSO4:   2   /   3.142857143
CaCl2:   3.5   /   5.5
MgSO4:   2   /   3.142857143
NaHCO3:   0   /   0
CaCO3:   0   /   0
Lactic Acid (ml):   2      
Sauermalz (oz):   0      
         
Mash Water / Total water (ppm):         
Ca:   111   /   111
Mg:   15   /   15
Na:   73   /   73
Cl:   151   /   151
SO4:   152   /   152
Cl to SO4 Ratio:   1.00   /   1.00
         
Alkalinity (CaCO3):   -41      
RA:   -129      
Estimated pH:   5.48      
(room temp)         

My mash, after 15 minutes, good stir, and cooling to room temp, measuresslightly higher than the lowest reading on Precision Labs strips (pH 4662), so about 4.8-4.9.  For sure less than 5.4.

The directions say to immerse for 1-2 seconds, then read within 10-15 seconds.  These are the plastic strips with the little pad at the end.

Even adding the .3 correction factor I have seen on these forums I am still low at about 5.3.

My SOP is to heat water to strike temp, transfer to the mash tun, add the minerals, mix, add the acid, mix, add the grist, mix, let stand at mash temp for at least 15 minutes, mix, take a sample, cool to room temp, check the pH.  I even used some 10 year old paper strips (from the same company) to double check and got the same low result.

Any idea why this is happening, and how is this effecting my finished beer.

BTW, I add the sparge minerals to the sparge water before fly sparging.

I have not checked the pH of the finished beer.  Should I?

Just for the record, I am not color blind.   :)

I suspect it is the acid.  Somewhere I read that the acid should be added to the cold water.  I have not found an easy way to do that since the spreadsheet assumes the final water volumes along with the grain bill to find the final pH.  The acid amount shown would be off since I heat my water in the kettle, then transfer it to the mash tun and there is not a way to heat, then transfer, the exact volume needed.

I look forward to your comments.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: PH too low
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2014, 08:19:08 PM »
Your RA is -129, so it will give a low pH. Your grain bill is what? Lots of calcium and acid will push the pH down.
Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline jstaudt88

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Re: PH too low
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2014, 09:23:49 AM »
Grain bill is:

7# 2 row
.5# 6 row
1# Crystal 60 SRM
.5# Crystal 10 SRM (accidental due to another brewer at the LHBS adding it to my bucket!)
.5# Buscuit
.5# Torrified Wheat

So you are saying that EZWater is wrong?

Added:  All the parameters are good per EZWater.  Am I using it wrong?
« Last Edit: June 21, 2014, 09:25:32 AM by jstaudt88 »

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: PH too low
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2014, 10:08:23 AM »
Grain bill is:

7# 2 row
.5# 6 row
1# Crystal 60 SRM
.5# Crystal 10 SRM (accidental due to another brewer at the LHBS adding it to my bucket!)
.5# Buscuit
.5# Torrified Wheat

So you are saying that EZWater is wrong?

Added:  All the parameters are good per EZWater.  Am I using it wrong?

I don't know EZWater. Do you trust you pH measurements or a program? Strips can be a problem getting accurate numbers.

You have a negative RA, Crystal malts are acidic. I might say a low pH is not unexpected.

I trust Brunwater, but I verify with a pH meter. A couple of times the pH was off from predicted. Once was a data input error on my part. Another time may have been the specific base grain used.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline Kinetic

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Re: PH too low
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2014, 10:37:26 AM »
EZ water is typically accurate, but I don't use it.  I vote for software input error or something is funky with the pH strips. 

I'll bet it makes a good beer anyway.   Maybe you can upload the ez water file and have someone review it?

Offline jstaudt88

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Re: PH too low
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2014, 01:05:12 PM »
I would love to upload my EZWater file but don't see where to do it.  The "attachments and other options" does not include an option to attach anything, despite it name.  What I included above is the "raw text" version of the file.

As I stated above, I have some old paper strips and a bottle of the newer plastic strips.  Both read the same.  I couldn't really tell a difference in color.

I bought a pH meter several months ago and it never worked.  It wouldn't calibrate and I ended up returning it for a refund.

What meter do you guys use?

Offline Kinetic

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Re: PH too low
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2014, 02:19:46 PM »
You can upload the file to a free file host and submit a link to the file or you can use the Brewers Friend mash calculator and post a link to the url it generates.  The later will enable anyone who looks at the url to see what you have done.  The former requires the viewer to use the same software you used.

Offline quattlebaum

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Re: PH too low
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2014, 08:54:01 PM »
Water is a complicated b****! I think i over think it most of the time. Whats crazy is i started adjusting my Mash PH to see if it made a difference on my finial beer PH. What's even more crazy it that a buddy of mine is testing quite a few commercial examples of IPA and They are all at or above 4.5 to 4.7! That goes against most of what i have been told. Sorry to to get on a soap box.  This is a link to my home brew club web site of what i have learned pulled from many resources.  maybe it will help some. O and i could be wrong of some of it. It was just me trying to make since and educate some of our club members.  it starts with Brewing water and goes #2 and so on.

Also with that RA and Alkalinity that low i can see why your PH is so low. And wow that NA is really high
http://wildhops.webs.com/apps/forums/show/14265618-education

Offline Kinetic

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Re: PH too low
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2014, 06:58:01 AM »
The finished beer will be a lower pH than the mash pH or kettle pH. 

Offline mabrungard

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Re: PH too low
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2014, 07:03:35 AM »
Whats crazy is i started adjusting my Mash PH to see if it made a difference on my finial beer PH. What's even more crazy it that a buddy of mine is testing quite a few commercial examples of IPA and They are all at or above 4.5 to 4.7!

I'm confused. Are you trying to equate mash pH to a subsequent beer pH?

While mash pH does have an influence in the final beer pH, the heavy lifter is yeast. The yeast strain and its fermentation conditions including nutrient content, degree of attenuation, number of cell divisions, etc, have a much stronger effect than the starting pH of the wort. Bumping wort pH up or down a tenth or two is likely to change the beer pH by hundreths.

The importance of mashing and wort pH is in the multitude of effects it has on things like tannin and silicate extraction, color extraction, enzyme activity and wort fermentability, hop utilization and bittering perception, etc. So mash and wort pH are important, but certainly NOT a big factor in final beer pH.

To the OP: Yes, there is a learning curve to Bru'n Water, just like there is to brewing water chemistry. There is a reason brewers remain mystified when using a simple program: they didn't take the time to understand what that program is telling them to do. Bru'n Water is for the brewer that wants to learn what they are doing and why.

The good thing is that using a simple program is more likely to help a brewer make their beer better than it was before. That is a definite plus. A brewer is making a step in the right direction when they decide they want to do something to their brewing water. There are NO water sources that can make ALL beer styles well. Some form of water treatment is a requirement if you want to make it possible to brew a wide variety of styles. Anyone who thinks their water needs no treatment, has their head in the sand. You can do better with just a few simple adjustments. (OK, that last statement is out the door if your tap water is a train wreck!)

The OP's result with the pH strips is typical. A few tenths low and then you have to apply a correction factor. It didn't look like the program prediction was that far off and I'm betting that the beer will be better than it has been in the past. The good thing is that the OP now has a tool that will helps dial in the taste and character wanted in the beer. Sure, the prediction may be a little off. You will just have to adjust your target a bit and brew it again. If that beer is better than the last, then you know the adjustment was in the right direction.

Its all about making beer that meets your expectations. As mentioned above, you don't have to overthink water adjustments. Use a tool that makes sense to you and gives you a reasonable way to figure out how much of a mineral or acid to add without going overboard. Brew it, taste it, decide if the adjustment was too much or too little and keep that in mind for the next batch.
Martin B
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BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

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Offline jstaudt88

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Re: PH too low
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2014, 11:58:22 AM »
Thanks for all your inputs.  Being an engineer and not chemist, I guess I expected to just turn the crank and have all the numbers fall out right on the money.  It's good to see that I really am not too far out in left field.  I do believe I need to step back and put more effort into understanding the why as well as the what.  Sorta like the difference between being a cook and being a baker.

It was mentioned a couple of times that the RA is really low (-129), and this would necessarily result in a low pH.  But the spreadsheet calculated this number and still predicts a pH of 5.48.  Why would that be the case?

Na is right in the middle of the range per the spreadsheet too, although those ranges seem to be subjective.  I am diluting my tap water 50% with RO so I am kinda stuck with the Na as is unless I go all RO.

I will learn the Brunwater and see how it compares and let you all know how I do.

Thanks all!

Offline quattlebaum

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Re: PH too low
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2014, 04:06:53 PM »
Whats crazy is i started adjusting my Mash PH to see if it made a difference on my finial beer PH. What's even more crazy it that a buddy of mine is testing quite a few commercial examples of IPA and They are all at or above 4.5 to 4.7!

I'm confused. Are you trying to equate mash pH to a subsequent beer pH?

While mash pH does have an influence in the final beer pH, the heavy lifter is yeast. The yeast strain and its fermentation conditions including nutrient content, degree of attenuation, number of cell divisions, etc, have a much stronger effect than the starting pH of the wort. Bumping wort pH up or down a tenth or two is likely to change the beer pH by hundreths.

Yes i am equating mash PH having an impact on my final beer PH. I have always thought that the mash PH will set the stage per say on the final beer PH. I understand there are many factors like you say. Maybe i am focusing on the wrong things but i am trying to pitch the same amount, add the same nutrient and so fourth to attempt to control the end result. Thing is i only hit my desired final beer PH 50% of the time. I guess there are to many variables that i just cant quite seem to get control over or understand.  I have been attempting to collect data on pitch rates, yeast strains, attenuation and fermentation characteristics and seem to be all over the place with no trends per say but then again i am not brewing the same beer and using the same grain over and over again.  Ill keep it up thought :) Thanks for the feedback