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Author Topic: Mash pH  (Read 1366 times)

Offline soymateofeo

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Mash pH
« on: January 17, 2023, 07:48:17 am »
Hi team.
I am trying to figure out how to deal with mash pH inntwo different situations and what the results would be. Let's assume that I am targeting a mash pH of 5.4.

How would the results differ in the final beer if I
A.  Do a full volume mash in my all in one without sparging?
Versus
B. Mashing at 1.5qt/lb and then sparging with a few gallons of water?

After 20 years I decided to give pH a notice. 
Thanks

Offline denny

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Re: Mash pH
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2023, 08:07:57 am »
Obviously, if you adjust pH they won't differ at all. But the full volume mash will have a different unadjusted pH. Whether it's higher or lower will depend on the grain, but likely it will be higher.
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Offline soymateofeo

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Re: Mash pH
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2023, 09:46:33 pm »
That makes sense.  I need to play around with beersmith to dial it in.  I want to dial in the mash pH and the pH of the final beer as well.  I heard an interesting podcast that goes into this with Kai troester.  There are so many different things to control for.  Using RO water should help me out since Los Angeles water is horrendous.

Offline BrewBama

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Mash pH
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2023, 07:19:39 am »
There are a lot of ways to adjust for pH. I’d say most use some sort of prediction tool to guess what the full grain bill pH will be and make an acid adjustment based on the recommendation. Usually lactic or phosphoric acid is used.

Careful which pH adjustment you use in BeerSmith. There are two choices. I’ve had the most luck with Martin’s Bru’nWater which is one of the choices. Other tools give different recommendations based on their differing calculations.

Others may add acid malt at 2-3% of the grain bill vs the lactic or phosphoric acid. AJ DeLange’s water adjustment advice uses this method.

Another way to account for mash pH is to use a method Gordon Strong advocates. That is withhold all the dark grains until mash out/vorlauf. By then the mash is complete and the dark grains have least affect on the outcome.  I use full volume no sparge with this method.

I like to use 50-100 ppm Ca as a co-factor for the amylase enzymes and to help protect α-amylase at normal mashing temperatures. Ca in the water reacts with phosphates in the grain husks to release phytic acid, which lowers the mash pH naturally. (Ref: G Strong) Because the recommendation is ppm, the amount changes with water volume. So full volume no sparge, or less volume with sparge is accounted for.

Though G Strong recommends treating water with phosphoric acid to adjust to 5.2 before strike or sparge, I add 1 tsp (~3-4 grams) Ascorbic Acid, a proven antioxidant, though slightly less effective in solution at scavenging oxygen than NaMeta. However, enzymes exist within the malt that increase the effectiveness of AA as an oxygen scavenger. (Ref: http://www.germanbrewing.net/docs/On_Brewing_Bavarian_Helles_v3.pdf) More importantly, it’s a weak acid that assists Ca to get mash pH in the desired range.


*Disclaimer*: Any comment I add is simply the way I brew beer. I am not paid or sponsored by anyone. There are certainly other ways that can be equally effective which other brewers may contribute. This is what I’ve found that works for me using my equipment and processes so I offer this for your consideration. YMMV
« Last Edit: May 20, 2023, 06:16:26 pm by BrewBama »

Offline Kevin

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Re: Mash pH
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2023, 08:19:10 am »
You could fill your vessel with all the water you will use... treat it... then pull out the 2 gallons you will use for sparging later. If not that then Beersmith will calculate how much of your salts you need to add for both mash and sparge water if you select a mash profile that includes a sparge step.
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Offline denny

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Re: Mash pH
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2023, 08:53:16 am »
I'll expand on Brewbama's excellent advice a bit. Adding dark grains lateness an excellent way to control pH, but it changes the flavor impact of the dark grains. It kind of mutes the sharpness. Sometimes that's appropriate, sometimes it's not. It's up to you to decide.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Mash pH
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2023, 10:23:31 am »
I'll expand on Brewbama's excellent advice a bit. Adding dark grains lateness an excellent way to control pH, but it changes the flavor impact of the dark grains. It kind of mutes the sharpness. Sometimes that's appropriate, sometimes it's not. It's up to you to decide.
I agree about the dark grains. There are many ways to skin the pH cat in brewing. Just stay consistent so when you make adjustments you are comparing apples to apples. I'm a no-sparge brewer, and I like to just treat my water the night before and not worry about it on brew day. I use Brewer's Friend, and it's water calculator (based on Kai's data, I believe) gives very close results to Brunwater. I'd recommend either of those if you're using software to calculate pH and acid additions.

If you're looking at adjusting finished beer pH, then definitely consider an acid addition either with or after dry hopping. I've started doing this recently and it really helps brighten up hoppy beers.
Eric B.

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Offline Cliffs

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Re: Mash pH
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2023, 11:10:57 am »
I'll expand on Brewbama's excellent advice a bit. Adding dark grains lateness an excellent way to control pH, but it changes the flavor impact of the dark grains. It kind of mutes the sharpness. Sometimes that's appropriate, sometimes it's not. It's up to you to decide.

When I tried late additions of roasted malts I didnt like the results. Im using those grains specifically for their flavor addition.

Offline denny

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Re: Mash pH
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2023, 11:26:33 am »
I'll expand on Brewbama's excellent advice a bit. Adding dark grains lateness an excellent way to control pH, but it changes the flavor impact of the dark grains. It kind of mutes the sharpness. Sometimes that's appropriate, sometimes it's not. It's up to you to decide.

When I tried late additions of roasted malts I didnt like the results. Im using those grains specifically for their flavor addition.

In general, I agree. I have one or 2 recipes where I found it appropriate but in general it dilutes the character I'm looking forl
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline soymateofeo

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Re: Mash pH
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2023, 08:24:34 pm »
Thanks everybody.  This is a lot to digest.  I got my pH meter and am ready to dive in.  Great advice.

Offline purduekenn

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Re: Mash pH
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2023, 04:18:11 pm »
I think Martins Bru'n Water spreed sheet is the best tool to predict mash pH. I also use the Beer Smith calculator and found that the Beer Smith BW mash model was fairly close to the Bru'n water spreed sheet mash pH estimations.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Mash pH
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2023, 07:47:45 pm »
If you are targeting a mash pH of 5.4 the first thing you have to know is the alkalinity of your water. Then you have to know the grain bill for your beer and what color the beer will be. Your alkalinity will determine what color beer you can brew with the smallest changes in water chemistry. On your water report, you could say that any thing under 150ppm would be suitable for a pale to amber beer. Anything over 150ppm would be suitable for an amber to dark beer. The lower the alkalinity, the less acid (such as lactic acid) you will need to use two make pH adjustments for pale beers. The higher the alkalinity, the less alkalinity (such as baking soda) you will need to add back to the water for your pH adjustment for dark beers.

If your water's alkalinity is higher that you want, the easiest way to lower it is too add distilled or RO water. Say your alkalinity is 100 but you want it to be be closer to 50...just dilute it 50% with distilled or RO. If your alkalinity is lower than you want, you can use baking soda to raise the alkalinity (and calcium carbonate, though it is less soluble and might not raise it much, though it will raise the calcium).

This is pretty much all you have to do to target any pH with any water or grain bill. The biggest problem to this technique is if your alkalinity is too low and you use to much baking soda you will also raise the sodium content and the beer can taste "salty." Inputting your water report into some water chemistry software will really help you see what different additions do.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2023, 05:13:17 am by majorvices »

Offline saaz amore

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Re: Mash pH
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2023, 02:54:21 am »
The biggest problem to this technique is if your alkalinity is too low and you use to much baking soda you will also raise the sodium content and the beer can taste "salty." Inputting your water report into some water chemistry software will really help you see what different additions do.

At what point (in terms of ppm sodium) does the beer start to taste salty? Is it completely dependent on the sodium amounts, or does chloride come into play as well?

Offline majorvices

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Re: Mash pH
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2023, 04:53:35 am »
The biggest problem to this technique is if your alkalinity is too low and you use to much baking soda you will also raise the sodium content and the beer can taste "salty." Inputting your water report into some water chemistry software will really help you see what different additions do.

At what point (in terms of ppm sodium) does the beer start to taste salty? Is it completely dependent on the sodium amounts, or does chloride come into play as well?

It varies per individual sodium tolerance but I believe it's best to keep the total Na (sodium) levels under 100-150ppm. For reference One gram per gallon (or 4 liters) of sodium bicarbonate in distilled water will raise the carbonate to about 190 ppm and the sodium to about 75 ppm.

M y understanding is that while too much chloride can make a beer taste "salty" or "chemically" it doesn't conflict with sodium bicarbonate at the levels we are talking about. Sodium levels will though.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2023, 04:57:54 am by majorvices »