Author Topic: Stalled fermentation/water chemistry issue  (Read 901 times)

Offline Wilbur

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Stalled fermentation/water chemistry issue
« on: August 23, 2017, 01:53:51 AM »
I have a question regarding mash pH and stalled fermentation. I brewed a batch last friday (recipe below), for this batch I wanted to try and use straight tap water. I'm in Peoria, and the water is extremely hard, although I have a water softener. I guess I understand that I should avoid using the water softener for brewing water, but baby steps. Water profile below:

pH=7.2-7.8
Total Hardness (CaCO3)=300-600 mg/L
Sodium=35.5-68.4 mg/L
Nitrate=0.1-4.83 mg/L

Recipe
3500 g Pils
907 g Wheat
907 g Vienna
90 g Lemondrop hops @ 5 minutes
60 g Nugget @ 5 minutes
1 oz. Ginger @ 5 minutes

Mashed @ 158 F for 60 minutes
Pitched 1 pack S33 in 5.5 gallons of wort

The issue, I've been getting some notes of astringency, so I wanted to ensure my mash pH was in the right range. I mashed in @ 2.7 qt/lb (BIAB), initial mash pH = 6.2 after adding 9 tsp lactic acid. I added 4 tsp more, and measured a pH of ~4.6 (At ~40 minutes). I let the mash run to 60 minutes, removed the grains.

My questions are:

  • What is mash pH usually at the end of the mash?
  • Is this a yeast problem, or did I screw up my mash with all these acid adjustments?

I'm thinking I may just get a cheap TDS meter and get RO/distilled water for future batches, but I'd love to avoid the hassle. Any other thoughts?

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Stalled fermentation/water chemistry issue
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2017, 12:27:10 PM »
You were stumbling in the dark. You have no worthwhile information on your water and were adding acid indiscriminately. If the final wort pH was actually 4.6, you may have adversely affected the fermentability and character of the beer. You really do need to know what is in your water first and then estimate what your treatment measures will be BEFORE performing your mash.

If the water is as hard as indicated, a trip through the softener probably makes that water unsuitable for brewing. 
Martin B
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Offline stpug

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Re: Stalled fermentation/water chemistry issue
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2017, 01:42:38 PM »
13 tsp lactic acid = 65ml lactic acid :o

Yikes! I get worried when I'm approaching 6ml per 5 gallon batch of lactic acid (88% strength).  If you happened to be brewing 50 gallons then you may have been in "reasonable" territory, otherwise you are much better served with RO water and Bru'N Water spreadsheet.  At least then you'll have a good estimate of where you're at.

Offline zwiller

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Re: Stalled fermentation/water chemistry issue
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2017, 02:26:10 PM »
My questions are:

  • What is mash pH usually at the end of the mash?
  • Is this a yeast problem, or did I screw up my mash with all these acid adjustments?

I'm thinking I may just get a cheap TDS meter and get RO/distilled water for future batches, but I'd love to avoid the hassle. Any other thoughts?
1. End mash pH should be around 5.2-5.4
2. Not a yeast thing, but probably all the acid. 

But, you have to start somewhere...  I challenge you to try an all RO brew and I bet it turns out so well that it will not be a hassle.  I would consider a home RO system with water like that. 
Sam
Sandusky, OH

Offline Wilbur

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Re: Stalled fermentation/water chemistry issue
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2017, 03:12:41 PM »
Any tips on an ro system? I think I've seen a few that come in a briefcase or something similar.

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Offline zwiller

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Re: Stalled fermentation/water chemistry issue
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2017, 03:48:47 PM »
Sorry, no personal experience here.  Paying for water makes better financial sense to me.  The cheaper RO systems are slow and waste alot of water and more expensive the opposite.   Not affiliated with them besides being from Ohio  ;D but I see alot of guys go here: http://www.buckeyehydro.com/premium-ro-systems/  Nearly all the reviews are of homebrewers...
« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 06:12:02 PM by zwiller »
Sam
Sandusky, OH

Offline Andor

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Re: Stalled fermentation/water chemistry issue
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2017, 04:27:18 PM »
What type of ph meter are you using? Are you sure it's accurate? I'd think 9tsp lactic acid would drop pretty much any water below the ideal range

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Stalled fermentation/water chemistry issue
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2017, 04:30:06 PM »
The 'briefcase' sized RO systems are not ideal. The filters are too small and it will end up costing you more. Get a system with the large 10 inch filters with cartridges that you can buy at the local store. The recommendation for the dealer that Sam makes above, is sound.
Martin B
Carmel, IN

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Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

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