Author Topic: keys to a crisp lager  (Read 1512 times)

Offline mabrungard

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2015, 05:37:36 PM »
I've come to the conclusion that targeting mash pH much below 5.4 for most ale styles tends to be too tart for me. Of course, most ale yeast produce a beer pH that is lower than that of a lager yeast. So that probably biases my findings. With that difference in typical final beer pH for those yeasts, it does seem that it can be more appropriate to target a pH less than 5.4 in pursuit of 'crispness'. Unfortunately, I brew far more ales than lagers and can't develop much experience in the lager field. I will bow to the findings of active lagers brewers with respect to mash pH recommendations. 
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Offline wobdee

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2015, 01:49:47 AM »
This is interesting, my light Lagers arent quite there yet. I thought Sulfate should be as low as possible for light lagers and that higher sulfates don't go well with noble hops? I've been keeping mine under 10. I also target my PH around 5.4 but I think I'll try lower.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2015, 04:22:33 AM »
This is interesting, my light Lagers arent quite there yet. I thought Sulfate should be as low as possible for light lagers and that higher sulfates don't go well with noble hops? I've been keeping mine under 10. I also target my PH around 5.4 but I think I'll try lower.
It depends on the lager you are try ing to make to style. For a Czech Pils keep the sulfate so low as you said. For a Northern German Pils the 70 to 90 ppm range works. If you want to make pils like they make in Munich back the sulfate down by half or mor, and it will be softer.
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Offline wobdee

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2015, 12:08:46 PM »
This is interesting, my light Lagers arent quite there yet. I thought Sulfate should be as low as possible for light lagers and that higher sulfates don't go well with noble hops? I've been keeping mine under 10. I also target my PH around 5.4 but I think I'll try lower.
It depends on the lager you are try ing to make to style. For a Czech Pils keep the sulfate so low as you said. For a Northern German Pils the 70 to 90 ppm range works. If you want to make pils like they make in Munich back the sulfate down by half or mor, and it will be softer.

OK, thanks, that makes sense. I'm brewing a Munich Helles tomorrow so I'll shoot for a little sulfate and a lower PH.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2015, 02:59:05 PM »
This is interesting, my light Lagers arent quite there yet. I thought Sulfate should be as low as possible for light lagers and that higher sulfates don't go well with noble hops? I've been keeping mine under 10. I also target my PH around 5.4 but I think I'll try lower.
It depends on the lager you are try ing to make to style. For a Czech Pils keep the sulfate so low as you said. For a Northern German Pils the 70 to 90 ppm range works. If you want to make pils like they make in Munich back the sulfate down by half or mor, and it will be softer.


OK, thanks, that makes sense. I'm brewing a Munich Helles tomorrow so I'll shoot for a little sulfate and a lower PH.
For a Helles I only use a little sulfate. Look,up Martins article in Zymurgy for recommended treated Munich water.
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Offline denny

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2015, 03:54:31 PM »
This is interesting, my light Lagers arent quite there yet. I thought Sulfate should be as low as possible for light lagers and that higher sulfates don't go well with noble hops? I've been keeping mine under 10. I also target my PH around 5.4 but I think I'll try lower.

That is a myth perpetrated by A.J. deLange.  A.J. prefers really malty beers and because he's so knowledgeable about water, his advice often gets taken while his prejudices get overlooked  Unless you want to brew only the single style of beer he likes, I'd ignore that advice.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #21 on: June 06, 2015, 05:02:55 PM »
This is interesting, my light Lagers arent quite there yet. I thought Sulfate should be as low as possible for light lagers and that higher sulfates don't go well with noble hops? I've been keeping mine under 10. I also target my PH around 5.4 but I think I'll try lower.

That is a myth perpetrated by A.J. deLange.  A.J. prefers really malty beers and because he's so knowledgeable about water, his advice often gets taken while his prejudices get overlooked  Unless you want to brew only the single style of beer he likes, I'd ignore that advice.
Having brewed Czech and German Pilsners, I concluded that sulfate was required to get the dry lingering finish in a German Pils, and low to no levels in a Czech Pils to get the rounded bitterness those beers have.

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Offline wobdee

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2015, 01:10:40 AM »
This is interesting, my light Lagers arent quite there yet. I thought Sulfate should be as low as possible for light lagers and that higher sulfates don't go well with noble hops? I've been keeping mine under 10. I also target my PH around 5.4 but I think I'll try lower.

That is a myth perpetrated by A.J. deLange.  A.J. prefers really malty beers and because he's so knowledgeable about water, his advice often gets taken while his prejudices get overlooked  Unless you want to brew only the single style of beer he likes, I'd ignore that advice.

I think that's where I heard it from. I think he was also trying to convince me 5.2 PH was too low. I'll just adjust my water with a bit more sulfate, lower my PH to 5.25 and see what happens for myself. Thanks guys.

Offline orangehero

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2015, 05:15:22 AM »
I'm curious about the comments regarding mash pH and crispness. What is it about the mash pH that you propose affects this? My general understanding is that mash pH is most important for enzymatic activity and tannin extraction (among many other relatively minor effects like break formation and maillard reactions).

Beyond that does a few points at mash pH really make such a significant difference as long as you are in the optimum range? Looking at some of the data in the Water book (e.g. Table 13, p. 121) it seems the yeast does a very good job of lowering pH to within a few tenths of pH despite widely disparate mash and kettle pH values. It seems there's an assumption that mash pH is determining final pH, but from what I see that's not true.

It's not mash pH that should be considered here, but rather final pH. It is not unusual for commercial brewers to adjust final pH for whatever reason.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2015, 05:25:23 AM by orangehero »

Offline erockrph

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2015, 03:32:37 PM »
I'm curious about the comments regarding mash pH and crispness. What is it about the mash pH that you propose affects this? My general understanding is that mash pH is most important for enzymatic activity and tannin extraction (among many other relatively minor effects like break formation and maillard reactions).

Beyond that does a few points at mash pH really make such a significant difference as long as you are in the optimum range? Looking at some of the data in the Water book (e.g. Table 13, p. 121) it seems the yeast does a very good job of lowering pH to within a few tenths of pH despite widely disparate mash and kettle pH values. It seems there's an assumption that mash pH is determining final pH, but from what I see that's not true.

It's not mash pH that should be considered here, but rather final pH. It is not unusual for commercial brewers to adjust final pH for whatever reason.
Outside of controlling tannin extraction you are right, we're talking about final pH rather than mash pH. But many of us at the homebrew level aren't adjusting finished pH. I know many of us (myself included) just use software like Brun'water or Brewer's Friend to determine our mash pH and then letting that drive the finished beer pH. I know that if I set my mash pH to the 5.3 range for lagers I get the result I'm looking for, just like I know if I mash at 5.5-5.6 I get the results I like on a porter.

You could certainly dose the batch with lactic or phosphoric post-ferment to adjust pH as needed, but if you have your recipe dialed in the mash pH does tend to drive the finish pH.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2015, 04:00:19 PM »
Outside of controlling tannin extraction you are right, we're talking about final pH rather than mash pH. But many of us at the homebrew level aren't adjusting finished pH. I know many of us (myself included) just use software like Brun'water or Brewer's Friend to determine our mash pH and then letting that drive the finished beer pH. I know that if I set my mash pH to the 5.3 range for lagers I get the result I'm looking for, just like I know if I mash at 5.5-5.6 I get the results I like on a porter.

You could certainly dose the batch with lactic or phosphoric post-ferment to adjust pH as needed, but if you have your recipe dialed in the mash pH does tend to drive the finish pH.

+1
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Offline orangehero

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2015, 05:10:31 PM »
What acid are you using in the mash? Perhaps the effect is not from pH per se but rather from the use of lactic acid, which is not flavor neutral?

Offline erockrph

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Re: keys to a crisp lager
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2015, 05:30:19 PM »
What acid are you using in the mash? Perhaps the effect is not from pH per se but rather from the use of lactic acid, which is not flavor neutral?
That is certainly a possibility, especially if you're shooting for a low mash pH using primarily pale malt. I've heard that the amounts of lactic acid typically used for mash pH adjustments are below the flavor threshold, but there's definitely a range of sensitivity on that.
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