Author Topic: mash pH vs beer color  (Read 1228 times)

Offline brewinhard

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mash pH vs beer color
« on: June 06, 2015, 07:30:05 PM »
I understand a good room temperature mash pH should lie between 5.2-5.5 range.   I also get that lower mash pH ranges benefit lighter colored beers vs. the higher end for darker beers. 

Herein lies my question -
Are there specific mash pH's for specific beer colors or is it more subjective and preferential by finished product taste? 

For example can one assume on a very basic level that
5.2-5.3 is acceptable for ales/lagers that are pale
5.3-5.4 for amber/brown colors
5.4-5.5 for stout/porter colors?

Or is more by trial and error to hone in on what you prefer?  Is there a pH vs color chart out there someone can guide me in the direction of other than Palmers? 


Offline mchrispen

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Re: mash pH vs beer color
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2015, 07:45:37 PM »
I highly recommend checking out the Bru'n Water Knowledge page and giving the spreadsheet a spin. https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/water-knowledge


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Offline tonyccopeland

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Re: mash pH vs beer color
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2015, 07:56:20 PM »
+1 Bru'n Water. It truly helped me improve my beers.

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: mash pH vs beer color
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2015, 08:16:04 PM »
Another huge +1 to Brunwater. It made a noticeable jump in improvement of my beers. To your list I'd add 5.4 as target pH for hop forward beers.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: mash pH vs beer color
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2015, 11:13:46 PM »
I have read through Martins Brunwater and do currently use his spreadsheet.  But no where on there did I see anything regarding this question.  Maybe I am missing it on there, but is there a place once you select which water profile to go with that tells you what pH is acceptable?
 As I add my grains to the spreadsheet and plug in my water salts, it provides me with an estimated pH at room temp (I use RO water).  But then, as I understand it, it is up to me to further adjust and fine tune the estimated pH with either acid to decrease pH into the mash based on what I am looking for in the final product.
 For example, the next beer I am brewing is a 5 srm patersbier.  I selected the yellow balanced profile and after adding salts and checking my estimated pH it came in at 5.6 (IIRC).  I then had to add back lactic acid (88%) to lower the mash pH.  How do I know what mash pH to adjust to in this case?  5.4, 5.3, lower? I guess I am curious as to how one goes about selecting which final mash pH to settle on? 

Sorry for the rambling, but I am trying to put my question into words.  Hope that worked and thanks for the assistance...

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: mash pH vs beer color
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2015, 11:25:02 PM »
I have read through Martins Brunwater and do currently use his spreadsheet.  But no where on there did I see anything regarding this question.  Maybe I am missing it on there, but is there a place once you select which water profile to go with that tells you what pH is acceptable?
 As I add my grains to the spreadsheet and plug in my water salts, it provides me with an estimated pH at room temp (I use RO water).  But then, as I understand it, it is up to me to further adjust and fine tune the estimated pH with either acid to decrease pH into the mash based on what I am looking for in the final product.
 For example, the next beer I am brewing is a 5 srm patersbier.  I selected the yellow balanced profile and after adding salts and checking my estimated pH it came in at 5.6 (IIRC).  I then had to add back lactic acid (88%) to lower the mash pH.  How do I know what mash pH to adjust to in this case?  5.4, 5.3, lower? I guess I am curious as to how one goes about selecting which final mash pH to settle on? 

Sorry for the rambling, but I am trying to put my question into words.  Hope that worked and thanks for the assistance...

I'll give you the targets I shoot for.

5.2 - saison
5.25-5.3 - pale lagers
5.4 - hop forward beers and beers that don't fit any of these other numbers
5.5-5.6  -  dark beers

If you enter your grist lovibond ratings and water volumes accurately, these numbers will make good beer for you. Good luck !
Jon H.

Offline quattlebaum

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Re: mash pH vs beer color
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2015, 12:06:55 AM »
I understand a good room temperature mash pH should lie between 5.2-5.5 range.   I also get that lower mash pH ranges benefit lighter colored beers vs. the higher end for darker beers. 

Herein lies my question -
Are there specific mash pH's for specific beer colors or is it more subjective and preferential by finished product taste? 

For example can one assume on a very basic level that
5.2-5.3 is acceptable for ales/lagers that are pale
5.3-5.4 for amber/brown colors
5.4-5.5 for stout/porter colors?

I do feel like its subjective personally. There are so many variables and the only way to truly figure it out is to re brew the beer over and over to determine what ya prefer. In general i have noticed that different strains of yeast have there own "buffering" capacity some better than others but i pretty much get .9 to 1 pt drop in PH from post boil PH reading at room temp.  i like to have my beers that i want to be "crisp" finish around 4.2 and most of my others finish around 4.5 to 4.6 but thats just my preference. i even like my IPAs to finish around 4.5 to 4.6 and most feel different but that what i prefer. make it the way you want it and thats all that matters.


Offline mchrispen

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Re: mash pH vs beer color
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2015, 12:12:15 AM »
I need to review the knowledge page (Mbrungard keeps updating things occasionally) again, but I know on the spreadsheet there is a box somewhere that contains mash pH target recommendations (on the Grain page if I recall). I have had really good success following it. Honestly I think it is completely consistent with HoosierBrew's list previously.

If it is not on the free version - I would suggest the donation to get the subscriber edition. It is a significant improvement in workflow over the free version, less confusing and more flexible. Best - you can directly see the influence of the mineral additions on estimated mash pH without flipping back and forth between worksheets.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: mash pH vs beer color
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2015, 12:42:44 AM »


I'll give you the targets I shoot for.

5.2 - saison
5.25-5.3 - pale lagers
5.4 - hop forward beers and beers that don't fit any of these other numbers
5.5-5.6  -  dark beers

If you enter your grist lovibond ratings and water volumes accurately, these numbers will make good beer for you. Good luck !

Yes.  Cool, that was what I was looking for.  A general idea to aim for.  I guess my original post should have read "TARGETING" mash pH.  Thank you!

I need to review the knowledge page (Mbrungard keeps updating things occasionally) again, but I know on the spreadsheet there is a box somewhere that contains mash pH target recommendations (on the Grain page if I recall). I have had really good success following it. Honestly I think it is completely consistent with HoosierBrew's list previously.

I will look around a bit more on the sheet, especially on the Grain page then.




Offline wobdee

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Re: mash pH vs beer color
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2015, 01:20:07 AM »
I just toured a couple local breweries today and the brew masters told me they target 5.2 for all their lagers which were very tasty by the way.

Offline erockrph

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Re: mash pH vs beer color
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2015, 02:41:54 PM »
I'll give you the targets I shoot for.

5.2 - saison
5.25-5.3 - pale lagers
5.4 - hop forward beers and beers that don't fit any of these other numbers
5.5-5.6  -  dark beers

If you enter your grist lovibond ratings and water volumes accurately, these numbers will make good beer for you. Good luck !
I use pretty much these exact numbers as well. And while these are sort of based on color, you should really be thinking of how it fits the style rather than just the color. For example, I'd still target 5.3 pH for a schwarzbier even though it's closer to a porter in color since I'm still looking for a crisp finish similar to most of my pale lager recipes.

Also, something I feel should be mentioned is that I target these mash pH's because they tend to drive the finished pH to where I want it. It doesn't have much to do with mash chemistry in particular. As long as your mash pH is in a good range for conversion, you could just as easily adjust in the kettle. I just prefer to make all my water adjustments up front for simplicity's sake.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: mash pH vs beer color
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2015, 03:05:26 PM »
Has anyone here gone down to 5.2 for a pale lager with good results?  What range would be good for a traditional hefeweizen?

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: mash pH vs beer color
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2015, 03:08:11 PM »
Has anyone here gone down to 5.2 for a pale lager with good results?  What range would be good for a traditional hefeweizen?
For Pilsners 5.2 works fine. Been doing 5.25 or so recently.

Hefeweizens, don't brew those, so someone else can comment.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: mash pH vs beer color
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2015, 03:55:14 PM »
I like 5.3 for hefe, 5.25 for wit.  Should've added those to my list, just don't brew them very often.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: mash pH vs beer color
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2015, 07:43:04 PM »
Great, I will add those to the other list you gave me earlier.  Man I love this forum!  :)