Author Topic: A couple of [possibly redundant] pH questions...  (Read 269 times)

Offline Village Taphouse

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A couple of [possibly redundant] pH questions...
« on: September 19, 2020, 07:59:29 PM »
I am coming off of a couple weird pH batches because the probe on my meter needed to be replaced.  I was paying attention to a couple of pH threads lately and now that I'm back (new probe) I wanted to verify a couple of things:

1. Was it accepted that a pH measurement should be taken at (around) 68°F and the target was 5.4?  My understanding is that the temp will impact the pH and 5.4 at 68° translates to 5.2 at 150°-ish.  If I have taken a wrong turn, please advise.

2. Did I hear something about brewers adjusting their post-boil pH to around 5.00?  I seem to remember someone (Martin?) saying that if you get your mash/sparge/boil pH set properly that brewers should not try to adjust pH any further.  Again, my meter was telling me that my post-boil wort was around 5.1 (bad reading) and today's batch came in at 5.51.  My mash pH (at 68°) was 5.37 and my sparge pH was 5.5 and to me those numbers don't really jive.  Again, if I have taken a wrong turn, please advise. 

Cheers and thanks. 

EDIT:  Martin, if you're reading this and that WAS NOT you saying that, forgive me... I have my peeps mixed up.  :P
Ken from Chicago

Offline BrewBama

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Re: A couple of [possibly redundant] pH questions...
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2020, 08:55:44 PM »
1. I shoot for 5.4 mash pH at ‘room temp’ from a sample taken at 20 min from the beginning of the mash.

2. I only adjust mash pH.  I’ve never had an issue.


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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: A couple of [possibly redundant] pH questions...
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2020, 01:59:15 AM »
There are posts out there on HBT and elsewhere that have led me to believe our goals should be 5.6 in the mash as measured at room temp, or 5.4 as measured directly in the mash, then 5.0-5.1 post-boil. So a little notch higher in the mash from what I can tell. I have increased my own mash pH in the past several batches and believe I am getting better results.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: A couple of [possibly redundant] pH questions...
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2020, 01:21:04 PM »
A typical pale beer should typically be mashed with a room-temp pH between 5.3 and 5.5.  How cares what that pH might equate to at mashing temperature.

Some pale beers can benefit from boiling in that typical range and then acidified slightly into the 5 to 5.2 range (room-temp) at the end of boil in order to aid the yeast in acidifying the beer.  This technique is useful when brewing beers with high Pils malt percentage since keeping the boil pH a bit higher during most of the boil aids in the conversion of SMM to DMS.  That improves the reduction of DMS during the boil. This technique becomes less useful when most of your grist has a color greater than something like 3L to 4L.  That's the level of a typical pale ale malt.  At that color or darker, the malt has very little SMM and any DMS that it has is easily expelled during a typical boil.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A couple of [possibly redundant] pH questions...
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2020, 01:57:25 PM »
Guys, thank you.

I have checked the pH of my wort prior to the boil just to make sure it's not higher than I would like.  That probably came from Kai and the 'darkening of the wort' information that he once had on his site.  But I have never ended the boil, chilled and then adjusted pH.  Never.  I do make a lot of pale styles with a majority of pilsner malt.  Yesterday's batch was a [sort of] Czech Pils where I split the base malt between pale ale malt and pilsner and I also added 10% Munich malt to get a bit more color out of the wort.  If a brewer were to adjust pH post-boil and post-chill, I'm not sure how I would do it.  My kettle is usually resting in an ice bath in the sink at that point and I would hate to muck with the wort at that point.  I could wait until the wort is in the fermenter and check the pH then but I also pitch yeast as the wort is running into the fermenter so the sample would have yeast in it.  I suppose I could also just forget all of this and pretend I never brought it up.  :D  For those who address this situation, please share what you do and how you do it.  Cheers. 
Ken from Chicago

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: A couple of [possibly redundant] pH questions...
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2020, 02:51:29 PM »
Guys, thank you.

I have checked the pH of my wort prior to the boil just to make sure it's not higher than I would like.  That probably came from Kai and the 'darkening of the wort' information that he once had on his site.  But I have never ended the boil, chilled and then adjusted pH.  Never.  I do make a lot of pale styles with a majority of pilsner malt.  Yesterday's batch was a [sort of] Czech Pils where I split the base malt between pale ale malt and pilsner and I also added 10% Munich malt to get a bit more color out of the wort.  If a brewer were to adjust pH post-boil and post-chill, I'm not sure how I would do it.  My kettle is usually resting in an ice bath in the sink at that point and I would hate to muck with the wort at that point.  I could wait until the wort is in the fermenter and check the pH then but I also pitch yeast as the wort is running into the fermenter so the sample would have yeast in it.  I suppose I could also just forget all of this and pretend I never brought it up.  :D  For those who address this situation, please share what you do and how you do it.  Cheers.

I've adjusted glasses of pilsner with phosphoric acid to see what happens. They have a brighter taste, and the bitterness seems better.

I might have to check some German Pils pH someday.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A couple of [possibly redundant] pH questions...
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2020, 03:25:26 PM »
Guys, thank you.

I have checked the pH of my wort prior to the boil just to make sure it's not higher than I would like.  That probably came from Kai and the 'darkening of the wort' information that he once had on his site.  But I have never ended the boil, chilled and then adjusted pH.  Never.  I do make a lot of pale styles with a majority of pilsner malt.  Yesterday's batch was a [sort of] Czech Pils where I split the base malt between pale ale malt and pilsner and I also added 10% Munich malt to get a bit more color out of the wort.  If a brewer were to adjust pH post-boil and post-chill, I'm not sure how I would do it.  My kettle is usually resting in an ice bath in the sink at that point and I would hate to muck with the wort at that point.  I could wait until the wort is in the fermenter and check the pH then but I also pitch yeast as the wort is running into the fermenter so the sample would have yeast in it.  I suppose I could also just forget all of this and pretend I never brought it up.  :D  For those who address this situation, please share what you do and how you do it.  Cheers.

I've adjusted glasses of pilsner with phosphoric acid to see what happens. They have a brighter taste, and the bitterness seems better.

I might have to check some German Pils pH someday.
As I got more familiar with the impact of good pH control, I always thought that you could give a beer a "brighter taste", as you say with some acid finesse... give the beer a bit of an 'acid snap'.  It can make the beer brighter and more refreshing and I think it's one of those small things that can make a big difference.  But I guess my issue is that I don't know the best way to go about it outside of making sure my mash and sparge pH readings are "in the zone".  Driving the pH down further at some point after that... it's fuzzy to me.  This is why I ask the AHA experts.  :P
Ken from Chicago

Offline mabrungard

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Re: A couple of [possibly redundant] pH questions...
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2020, 06:41:53 PM »
The good thing is that the buffering of boiled wort is still similar to mashing wort. However, the buffering of beer is quite different. You can get a good approximation of the boiled wort’s by using something like Bru’n Water to review how much acid is required to change the pH of the MASH by the amount you want. Use that amount of acid to dose the boil. Since properly prepared sparging water has very little alkalinity, it’s presence in the overall boiled wort volume should have little effect on the resulting batch pH when that mash-volume based acid dose is added.

I’m a firm believer in the effect of lactic acid in continental European styles and I always use that acid for them. As long as you haven’t overdosed the beer with lactic, I find no detrimental effect on flavor. Of course, you can always use the acid of your choice.
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Offline Silver_Is_Money

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Re: A couple of [possibly redundant] pH questions...
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2020, 11:04:35 PM »
Allow me to contend that there is technically no such thing as "Mashing pH" as distinct from "Wort pH".  All pH readings are (and must be) of the wort.  Solids do not exhibit pH's.

And to further contend that (as yet unspecified and therefore unquantified) variables are likely at play which make home brewers witnessed wort pH buffering different and also demonstrably lesser than buffering which was both specified and quantified via 'Congress mash' based wort analysis and titration.

I'm also in the general 5.55-5.6 pH target camp when it comes to 68 degree C. "mash pH" (aka, wort evolving during the mash phase pH) measurement.  This derives from my researched contention that 5.4 was originally selected at mash temperature and was merely later inferred intuitively to have been taken at room temperature, whereby through a process of repetition and circular reasoning it became (to the homebrewer, and in error) gospel.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2020, 11:10:20 PM by Silver_Is_Money »

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: A couple of [possibly redundant] pH questions...
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2020, 12:14:01 AM »
I'm also in the general 5.55-5.6 pH target camp when it comes to 68 degree C. "mash pH" (aka, wort evolving during the mash phase pH) measurement.  This derives from my researched contention that 5.4 was originally selected at mash temperature and was merely later inferred intuitively to have been taken at room temperature, whereby through a process of repetition and circular reasoning it became (to the homebrewer, and in error) gospel.

Exactly.  And, old gospels die hard.
Dave

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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: A couple of [possibly redundant] pH questions...
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2020, 12:19:53 AM »
The good thing is that the buffering of boiled wort is still similar to mashing wort. However, the buffering of beer is quite different. You can get a good approximation of the boiled wort’s by using something like Bru’n Water to review how much acid is required to change the pH of the MASH by the amount you want. Use that amount of acid to dose the boil. Since properly prepared sparging water has very little alkalinity, it’s presence in the overall boiled wort volume should have little effect on the resulting batch pH when that mash-volume based acid dose is added.

I’m a firm believer in the effect of lactic acid in continental European styles and I always use that acid for them. As long as you haven’t overdosed the beer with lactic, I find no detrimental effect on flavor. Of course, you can always use the acid of your choice.
Martin, when your pale lager has done boiling and has chilled and is ready to transfer to the fermenter, do you check the pH at that point and adjust it towards this 5.0 level that we're talking about?  It sounds like you want to boil at a slightly higher pH (DMS, etc) and then lower the pH if it's necessary.  There are times when I wonder if I am missing something like this that seems small, minor, etc. when it may actually have a profound impact on the beer in your glass.  Thanks for the reply... much appreciated. 
Ken from Chicago