Author Topic: Help w/ pH predictions through mini mashing.  (Read 1098 times)

Offline dsiets

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Help w/ pH predictions through mini mashing.
« on: March 23, 2016, 06:47:12 PM »
After reading the thread about Best Pilz?  malt (and others) giving lower than expected pH in some mashes, I noticed there were a couple mini mashes done to test just base malt in "x" amount of water.  I say "x" because it seems it varies depending on the person testing it. 
1) Is this done w/o a standard 1 to 1, or 1 to 1.5 qts/lb because the result is being entered into Bru'nWater to estimate the base grain L or color?  And then going from there?

I did my first ever home malting w/ seed from a friend's farm.  I had some small problems w/ germination and I think my malt is a little undermodified, so  I'm planning on doing a protein rest as part of the mash.
During the kilning I really had to battle my oven and I thought I was roasting my malt on the low side for a base malt but...

...Today I did a mini mash of 1/2 lb in 1/2 quart of my tap water and the result I got after pH meter calibration was pH 5.69 @66*(degrees F)
Entering this into my free version of Bru'nWater shows the base malt would need to be around 5L for this.

2)Am I following the process correctly?

« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 06:49:21 PM by dsiets »

Offline euge

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Re: Help w/ pH predictions through mini mashing.
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2016, 07:55:48 PM »
Looks like you mashed at 1qt per# which is a tad low.

Quote
...Today I did a mini mash of 1/2 lb in 1/2 quart of my tap water and the result I got after pH meter calibration was pH 5.69 @66*(degrees F)

Convention is that minimash is done with the same ratio as you would with more grain.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

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Offline dsiets

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Re: Help w/ pH predictions through mini mashing.
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2016, 08:07:35 PM »
Looks like you mashed at 1qt per# which is a tad low.

Quote
...Today I did a mini mash of 1/2 lb in 1/2 quart of my tap water and the result I got after pH meter calibration was pH 5.69 @66*(degrees F)

Convention is that minimash is done with the same ratio as you would with more grain.

Ok.  I do plan on mashing 1 to 1 for a protein rest, then infusing w/ boiling water to get up to conversion temps, resulting in a 1.5 to 1 ratio qts./lb.
I guess then my question is, if what ever that ratio and resulting number is.  Where do I go from there?

Offline euge

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Re: Help w/ pH predictions through mini mashing.
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2016, 08:15:06 PM »
I think you are doing things correctly. Try a thinner mash and see what the pH is. You might need some acid malt, dark grain or other enhancers to get your pH right.

Others have better insight on this, they'll probably chime in.
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trentm

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Re: Help w/ pH predictions through mini mashing.
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2016, 08:17:09 PM »
Normally you would find the distilled water pH by making a mash with distilled water, measuring the pH, then titrating to pH 4.3 to determine the alkalinity of the malt (how much buffering power does it have against acid additions).  As long as the mash ratio is reasonable for brewing and standard for all malts involved it should work.  Preferably 1.25 qts/lb -> 2 qts/lb works well.  Thinner might help with the pH meter measurements.

Since you used your tap water the malt is working against the alkalinity of your tap water and settled it at a pH of 5.69.  If your tap water is highly alkaline then you have a fairly acidic malt and if it's mildly alkaline then your malt may not be as acidic.

Perhaps a better indicator of the Lovibond of malt you made would be to reveal your "kilning schedule" and the amount of moisture present in the malt when you started kilning.  Pilsner type malts are started kilning around 8-10% moisture and when finished are at about 4%, with temperatures starting as low as 155F to around 185F.

Offline dsiets

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Re: Help w/ pH predictions through mini mashing.
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2016, 08:48:40 PM »
Normally you would find the distilled water pH by making a mash with distilled water, measuring the pH, then titrating to pH 4.3 to determine the alkalinity of the malt (how much buffering power does it have against acid additions).  As long as the mash ratio is reasonable for brewing and standard for all malts involved it should work.  Preferably 1.25 qts/lb -> 2 qts/lb works well.  Thinner might help with the pH meter measurements.

Since you used your tap water the malt is working against the alkalinity of your tap water and settled it at a pH of 5.69.  If your tap water is highly alkaline then you have a fairly acidic malt and if it's mildly alkaline then your malt may not be as acidic.

Perhaps a better indicator of the Lovibond of malt you made would be to reveal your "kilning schedule" and the amount of moisture present in the malt when you started kilning.  Pilsner type malts are started kilning around 8-10% moisture and when finished are at about 4%, with temperatures starting as low as 155F to around 185F.

1)Ok, I usually mash w/ 1.3 quarts/lb grain.  I thought distilled water could vary but it's always the same fresh?

2)My kilning process was 4 hours around 170's to 180's, mixing a few times, on half to 1" deep on trays. My oven is an old analogue electric and heating at lower temps. was a little problematic, I just did the best I could (thinking I was erring on the low side of temps around 170* at times.
I did not weigh my grains at the various points to predict moisture.  I guess it's a bit of a crap shoot.  I dried them after germination by spreading them out and drying w/ a fan for several days in a sun room.

My tap water is
Ca 40
Mg 12.6
Na  8
HCO3 130
So4  29
Cl   18.5
Total Alkalinity 107
(reported) water pH 7.1

Maybe I have to many unknown variables to accurately predict anything reliably and I'll just have to aim for a high pH and react after mash in w/ acid. 


Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Help w/ pH predictions through mini mashing.
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2016, 08:50:52 PM »
I did 2 qts/lb as that is the ratio that I mash my German lagers at.

If I do an ale in the near future, it will be 1.25 to 1.5 qt/lb.

You are trying to see how the malt will act in the water you propose to use. Tonight I wll set up for a dark Czech beer tomorrow. I will carefully weight out grains using a gram scale, and put those through the mill. For water the additions will be low. I will start with Ditilled water, mash, determine the pH and see if I need to add alkalinity. This will be better than winging it.
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Offline dsiets

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Re: Help w/ pH predictions through mini mashing.
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2016, 09:12:52 PM »
I did 2 qts/lb as that is the ratio that I mash my German lagers at.

If I do an ale in the near future, it will be 1.25 to 1.5 qt/lb.

You are trying to see how the malt will act in the water you propose to use. Tonight I wll set up for a dark Czech beer tomorrow. I will carefully weight out grains using a gram scale, and put those through the mill. For water the additions will be low. I will start with Ditilled water, mash, determine the pH and see if I need to add alkalinity. This will be better than winging it.

Are you using only base grain or are you making up the mini mash w/ % grains?
Would I be better off doing it that way to figure out my target pH ?  As I'm making a fairly basic blonde ale to focus on the base malt to see how my malt came out.

trentm

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Re: Help w/ pH predictions through mini mashing.
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2016, 10:28:30 PM »
Doing a mini-mash @ your planned main mash qt/lb ratio with your tap water is fine.

Reverse estimating the Lovibond of your malt with that pH is suspect because the formulas in Bru N Water are only estimating the DI pH using the Lovibond of the malt.  They've done the DI pH titration of many malts in various categories and extrapolated the formulas by fitting curves which are then applied to a wide range of malts in the various categories.

If you're after a DI pH that you would enter into a water calculator like EZWater then you would want to use distilled water and do a titration.

Hope that makes sense.  BTW what problems did you have with germination?  What was your steep schedule?

Offline dsiets

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Re: Help w/ pH predictions through mini mashing.
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2016, 11:30:46 PM »


....  BTW what problems did you have with germination?  What was your steep schedule?

Ok, Thanks.

I steeped 8hrs, then drained and left 8 hrs. x3, for a total of 48 hrs in 50's F.   By then the chits?/roots were just visible.

My problem came when I put the malt on trays for germination.  Mine were about 4" deep max.  I did not cover them as the BYO article (Jan-Feb 2013 vol. 19, No.1)  makes no mention of this, nor does it mention spraying them.  It just mentions turning the malt and that the grain has plenty of moisture to fully modify. It also instilled great fear of mold  ;D.  After a few days, because of the dry winter air, I noticed the rootlets browning. After 4 days I had no shoots poking out the end and it seemed the malt shoots were only about 50% the length of the grain.  At day 5 or so I loosely covered w/ a trash bag and would spritz the malt when I turned it(room was 55*-low 60's). A few days later I finally had some visible shoots peaking out and I called it good, and moved to drying them.

Other than that the article (by Graham Anderson) seemed to be spot on w/ depictions of sight and smell at the various stages.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 11:34:04 PM by dsiets »

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Help w/ pH predictions through mini mashing.
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2016, 11:42:12 PM »
I did 2 qts/lb as that is the ratio that I mash my German lagers at.

If I do an ale in the near future, it will be 1.25 to 1.5 qt/lb.

You are trying to see how the malt will act in the water you propose to use. Tonight I wll set up for a dark Czech beer tomorrow. I will carefully weight out grains using a gram scale, and put those through the mill. For water the additions will be low. I will start with Ditilled water, mash, determine the pH and see if I need to add alkalinity. This will be better than winging it.

Are you using only base grain or are you making up the mini mash w/ % grains?
Would I be better off doing it that way to figure out my target pH ?  As I'm making a fairly basic blonde ale to focus on the base malt to see how my malt came out.
I was going to do the whole grain bill %s, measured on a gram scale. I still have some set up to do, and may not do the mini-mash. I did do one of the malts before, and will up the Lovibond for that in Bru'nwater. The Pils malt I have now is Weyermann, so maybe I trust that.

In your case I would just do the base malt.
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trentm

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Re: Help w/ pH predictions through mini mashing.
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2016, 11:56:09 PM »
That's a good article to follow.

The shoots shouldn't poke out the end they should simply be 75-100% of the length of the kernel.  You can see this by simply holding some kernels in your hand and looking for the "hump" of the shoot running up the length of the kernel.  If the shoot is longer than the length of the kernel then you're in over-modified territory.

What variety was the barley and when was it grown?  If it was grown last year then perhaps not enough time has passed (usually a minimum of six months).  If it's not a malting variety then it may be a gamble as to what you'll get.

Ask your farmer friend if they have a grain moisture meter.  It would come in handy to determine the moisture content of your malt at each stage.

Did your friend clean and sieve the barley after it was combined?  If you got a lot of small kernels then your germination rate may have suffered.

Offline dsiets

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Re: Help w/ pH predictions through mini mashing.
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2016, 12:12:27 AM »
It's Conlon barley seed, harvested 7/15 and deemed suitable by WMU as "suitable for malting"
Moisture 12.74%
Vomitoxin DON  <0.3ppm
Protein 9.31%
Plumpness 99.20%
Germinative capcity = 93% at 72 hrs.

I had very few shoots sticking out.  I maybe counted a dozen or so in 20 lbs of malt.  I just took that as a good sign at that point as I thought modification had stalled and I immediately started drying them.

My farmer friend does not yet have a moisture meter yet but that is something he is looking into.  It may be an area I'll be helping him w/ as I learn more about the process.

I'm unsure about the cleaning process.  I only found 3 small stones and little dirt left behind after washing and soaking. 
« Last Edit: March 24, 2016, 12:21:50 AM by dsiets »

trentm

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Re: Help w/ pH predictions through mini mashing.
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2016, 12:41:40 AM »
Conlon is a good variety for malting.

Perhaps I misspoke, I should have said it doesn't matter if the shoots stick out it only matters that their length is 75-100% the length of the kernel.

Cleaning is done with a fanning mill, however it seems your friend has their combine adjusted well.

http://www.atferrell.com/clipper/products

How dirty was the cleaning water initially?  Normally goes from blackish to almost clear or off yellow.

Apologies, I'll quit asking questions.

You're lucky to have a source for the barley such as your friend.  I'm sure your beer will turn out great!

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Re: Help w/ pH predictions through mini mashing.
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2016, 12:58:48 AM »
As mentioned above, you want to mash with very low alkalinity water (ie: distilled water preferrably) and at a typical water/grist ratio. The primary grain you need to check are the base malts since they tend to make up a large portion of the grist and have the greatest impact on overall mash pH.
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