Author Topic: Why did my mash pH end up so low this time? Bru'n Water  (Read 1307 times)

Offline Invertalon

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Why did my mash pH end up so low this time? Bru'n Water
« on: January 05, 2017, 12:42:26 PM »
Hello everyone!

Recently I brewed a German Pils... Grist comprised of 10# BestMalz Pilsen, 6oz Acid Malt and 3.5oz Melanoidin, for a 5-gal batch. OG was 1.047 (exactly where it was projected), preboil gravity right on as well.

I mashed in with 4.76gal of water, (1.75 qt/lb).

Using Bru'n Water, I targeted a mash pH of 5.25... So there was 2.5 mL/gal additions of phosphoric acid as well for the mash water, (10% strength).

My (starting) water looks like this:

Ca: 37
Mg: 10
Na: 15
HCO3: 128
Sulfate: 30
Chloride: 20
Akalinity (CaCO3): 105
Total Alkalinity: 86
Water pH: 6.5

I also diluted both mash and sparge water 50/50% with distilled for this beer, then added back a few brewing salts. So my "finished" mashing water profile was:

Ca: 63
Mg: 5
Na: 8
HCO3: 20
Sulfate: 100
Chloride: 25


My question is, my mash pH was lower than expected... Right around 5.1, if not a hair less. Typically, Bru'n Water is spot on with the estimates but this time it came out lower than targeted.

Is there something with the dilution of the mash water 50/50 I missed somehow in the program? I never been that far off with the pH before, usually no more than +/- maybe .05 (and not .15!). I did calibrate my pH meter before hand and allowed the sample to cool down to room temp before checking as I always do. All measurements of acid malt, acid additions and malt were accurate as they typically are (same scales / methods). I did acidify my (batch) sparge water as well to 6.0 using about 17ml of 10% acid as well.

Any idea to prevent this from occurring in the future?  Hopefully with this style it won’t affect the end result too much, but time shall tell!

Appreciate any information!
« Last Edit: January 05, 2017, 01:24:35 PM by Invertalon »

Big Monk

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Why did my mash pH end up so low this time? Bru'n Water
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2017, 12:48:25 PM »
Best Pils is probably your culprit. Do you adjust for distilled water pH of the malt from the data sheet?


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« Last Edit: January 05, 2017, 12:51:28 PM by Big Monk »

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Why did my mash pH end up so low this time? Bru'n Water
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2017, 12:53:58 PM »
Yes, Best had a Pils malt lot that contained sauermalz last year.  I don't recall the explanation, but you probably had some of it by accident.
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Big Monk

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Re: Why did my mash pH end up so low this time? Bru'n Water
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2017, 12:55:19 PM »
Yes, Best had a Pils malt lot that contained sauermalz last year.  I don't recall the explanation, but you probably had some of it by accident.

Independent of the contamination, I believe Best is a bit more acidic than other Malts.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Why did my mash pH end up so low this time? Bru'n Water
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2017, 01:11:41 PM »
Target 5.2 and hit 5.1? Which ph meter? How old is your calibration fluid?

Offline Invertalon

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Re: Why did my mash pH end up so low this time? Bru'n Water
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2017, 01:17:15 PM »
That would explain it I suppose! I ordered the malt in (20# from Farmhouse Brewing Supply) just a few weeks ago. My LHBS only carries Dingemans and Avangard Pils, wanted to try another one out for experimentation purposes. Next batch I will have to adjust accordingly now that I know this malt may be more acidic.

Klickitat,

I use the Milwaukee MW102 PH meter. Target was 5.25 (I usually target 5.2 to 5.3 for my IPA's and lighter lagers, higher for stouts and such). Calibration fluid is only a few months old, kept cold in the fridge and the meter is calibrated with the fluid at room temp. I checked the probe back into the 4.01 reference fluid after my mash pH check and it was right on.


Big Monk,

What do you mean exactly? In the Bru'n Water spreadsheet, on the water adjustment sheet I do put 50% dilution of distilled water. I would assume this would adjust/balance the pH as needed for the mash. Do I need to adjust elsewhere for it? To be honest, I don't typically use distilled water for dilution often, just this and a previous pilsner I did (which was 100% distilled). Cleveland water is quite neutral to work with, so it's easy to get where I want to go for most styles. So perhaps I am a big ignorant using the spreadsheet properly for dilution!  :D


So... Should I be concerned for mash pH just shy of 5.1 in a German Pils? I just assume it would be a bit more crisp if anything. I just hope it won't be sour or something once fermentation is complete and it acidifies more. Time will tell I suppose!
« Last Edit: January 05, 2017, 01:25:13 PM by Invertalon »

Offline charles1968

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Re: Why did my mash pH end up so low this time? Bru'n Water
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2017, 02:03:52 PM »
Is your starting water made from scratch or domestic water supply? Alkalinity and mineral levels in water supplies can fluctuate.

Big Monk

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Re: Why did my mash pH end up so low this time? Bru'n Water
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2017, 02:09:23 PM »
No worries. Brun Water assumes that the distilled water mash pH (from the malt analysis data sheet) will be fairly close to the default of 5.75. So if the malt is more acidic, and you calculated 5.2, you would end up with a slightly more acidic mash pH


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Offline Stevie

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Re: Why did my mash pH end up so low this time? Bru'n Water
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2017, 03:18:46 PM »
Your water could have changed.

Offline Invertalon

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Re: Why did my mash pH end up so low this time? Bru'n Water
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2017, 04:05:37 PM »
That is possible, however, I just brewed an IPA just a week and a half prior that my mash pH was perfect as expected. In the past two years or so, my pH's have been consistent with the same base water profile. It sounds like it was the malt, based on what others have noted and finding that topic discussing that particular pilsner malt and it's acidity.

The city water is very consistent across multiple years and water tests for Cleveland I have found. They don’t change much at all. I assume it was malt driven vs. water.

Offline mainebrewer

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Re: Why did my mash pH end up so low this time? Bru'n Water
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2017, 09:24:10 PM »
I suspect, as noted earlier, that the issue is the Best Pils malt.
The bag I just finished using was routinely .1-.2 lower in the actual pH vs the predicted pH.
After the figuring it out, I just adjusted my water adjustments.
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Offline JT

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Re: Why did my mash pH end up so low this time? Bru'n Water
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2017, 01:36:13 AM »
OP:  Been there.  Done that.  It will be just fine.  It may be a bit low for optimal conversion, but many lower their pH post mash and pre boil to this range, especially for a Pils.  You're good. 

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« Last Edit: January 06, 2017, 04:18:21 AM by JT »

Offline Philbrew

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Re: Why did my mash pH end up so low this time? Bru'n Water
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2017, 01:50:18 AM »
I suspect, as noted earlier, that the issue is the Best Pils malt.
The bag I just finished using was routinely .1-.2 lower in the actual pH vs the predicted pH.
After the figuring it out, I just adjusted my water adjustments.
Same here.  Though I experienced as much as 0.3 lower ph.  Going back to Weyermann pils.
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Re: Why did my mash pH end up so low this time? Bru'n Water
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2017, 04:19:42 AM »
I suspect, as noted earlier, that the issue is the Best Pils malt.
The bag I just finished using was routinely .1-.2 lower in the actual pH vs the predicted pH.
After the figuring it out, I just adjusted my water adjustments.
Same here.  Though I experienced as much as 0.3 lower ph.  Going back to Weyermann pils.
Hard to beat Weyermann

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Offline The Beerery

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Re: Why did my mash pH end up so low this time? Bru'n Water
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2017, 01:37:36 PM »
Not to mention its(bests) ludicrous gelatinzation temp this year. No more best for me.
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