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Author Topic: PH reading  (Read 2757 times)

Offline brewthru

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2024, 02:39:33 pm »
A couple of years ago I bought a nice pH meter. Every brewday go thru all the calibration. Ensure the sample(s) are room temp. Only to discover the pH readings are very close each time. From that point I simply add the same amount of lactic acid to the mash and I'm good to go.

That works great as long as you always brew the same recipe

This was/is for different recipes. Checking the pH with the pH meter and I'm very close to the recipe. Checked my brew day notes after several brews and I discover I'm basically using the same amount of lactic acid each time. Next brew day I do an experiment. No pH meter. However, I use an average of the lactic acid amount. Brew turns out great.

Offline Richard

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2024, 05:24:43 pm »
I think the point that Denny was trying to make is that roasted grains are know to be acidic and drop the mash pH significantly. You can get away with a standard acid addition if all of your beers are lighter than amber, even though the recipes are different, but once you start to go darker than that you will need to lower your acid additions. I brew a couple of stouts that have so many dark grains that I actually have to add baking soda to bring my mash pH up instead of the usual acid to bring it down.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2024, 05:58:06 pm »
I think the point that Denny was trying to make is that roasted grains are know to be acidic and drop the mash pH significantly. You can get away with a standard acid addition if all of your beers are lighter than amber, even though the recipes are different, but once you start to go darker than that you will need to lower your acid additions. I brew a couple of stouts that have so many dark grains that I actually have to add baking soda to bring my mash pH up instead of the usual acid to bring it down.

In addition, I target a higher pH for my stouts and porters than I do for most other styles. Too low a pH with a lot of roasted grains makes for an acrid beer.

pH adjustment may be "one size fits most" within a certain range of recipes, but it's definitely worth at the very least using a calculator like Brunwater or Brewer's Friend to get the most out of your pH adjustments.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2024, 10:15:39 am »

Thanks for the tip, Martin. I will get some test strips. If I catch my water in a high alkalinity state I might take a sample and send it to Ward Labs so I have a better idea of what all the differences are.

Those test strips aren’t the best option. Using the liquid test kits are more accurate and reliable.

I wouldn’t worry too much about getting a new lab test every time pH or alkalinity changes.
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Offline Skeeter686

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2024, 07:33:56 pm »
but once you start to go darker than that you will need to lower your acid additions. I brew a couple of stouts that have so many dark grains that I actually have to add baking soda to bring my mash pH up instead of the usual acid to bring it down.

I thought I'd heard that you don't actually get much / any conversion out of the dark grains, and also that they contribute their "contributions" (e.g., color, flavor, astringency) very quickly.  Therefore, you can add them at the end of the mash in order to keep them from messing with your mash pH.

I'm only starting to get into managing my water and pH, so please correct me if I'm way off base.  Also, my statements are from the perspective of the mash, but I'm guessing that you could still have impact to the pH of the wort and finished beer, so the baking soda may still be required,

Offline Richard

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2024, 07:43:14 pm »
but once you start to go darker than that you will need to lower your acid additions. I brew a couple of stouts that have so many dark grains that I actually have to add baking soda to bring my mash pH up instead of the usual acid to bring it down.

I thought I'd heard that you don't actually get much / any conversion out of the dark grains, and also that they contribute their "contributions" (e.g., color, flavor, astringency) very quickly.  Therefore, you can add them at the end of the mash in order to keep them from messing with your mash pH.

I'm only starting to get into managing my water and pH, so please correct me if I'm way off base.  Also, my statements are from the perspective of the mash, but I'm guessing that you could still have impact to the pH of the wort and finished beer, so the baking soda may still be required,

Yes, you can hold your dark grains to the end of the mash and they will not affect the pH of the main mash. However, not everybody likes the result of that in terms of flavor, which is not the same as when adding the dark grains into the main mash.
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Offline Megary

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2024, 06:17:22 am »

I thought I'd heard that you don't actually get much / any conversion out of the dark grains, and also that they contribute their "contributions" (e.g., color, flavor, astringency) very quickly.  Therefore, you can add them at the end of the mash in order to keep them from messing with your mash pH.

I'm only starting to get into managing my water and pH, so please correct me if I'm way off base.  Also, my statements are from the perspective of the mash, but I'm guessing that you could still have impact to the pH of the wort and finished beer, so the baking soda may still be required,

With my high-bicarbonate house well water, the dark grains in the mash (Stouts, Porters) drop my pH into the proper range.  Therefore, I prefer to mash them as opposed to late-steeping them.  Just one data point.

Offline denny

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2024, 09:12:39 am »
but once you start to go darker than that you will need to lower your acid additions. I brew a couple of stouts that have so many dark grains that I actually have to add baking soda to bring my mash pH up instead of the usual acid to bring it down.

I thought I'd heard that you don't actually get much / any conversion out of the dark grains, and also that they contribute their "contributions" (e.g., color, flavor, astringency) very quickly.  Therefore, you can add them at the end of the mash in order to keep them from messing with your mash pH.

I'm only starting to get into managing my water and pH, so please correct me if I'm way off base.  Also, my statements are from the perspective of the mash, but I'm guessing that you could still have impact to the pH of the wort and finished beer, so the baking soda may still be required,

You can certainly do that, but it gives you a different flavor. I prefer to add them to the mash and deal with pH.
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Offline Skeeter686

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2024, 07:09:15 pm »
You can certainly do that, but it gives you a different flavor. I prefer to add them to the mash and deal with pH.
A couple of people are saying that this yields a different flavor, which is not what I got out of whatever I'd read earlier.  Sounds like there actually is a difference.  I'm glad I brought this up,  Thanks for the insight, Denny and Richard!

Offline brewthru

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2024, 02:15:12 pm »
"In addition, I target a higher pH for my stouts and porters than I do for most other styles. Too low a pH with a lot of roasted grains makes for an acrid beer. "

Haven't brewed either stout or porter in a long time. However, wasn't it Denny whom recommended adding the roasted grains to the mash out for color and to avoid the harsh notes from actually mashing? It if wasn't Denny, it was someone whom I recently read.

Offline denny

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2024, 02:17:03 pm »
"In addition, I target a higher pH for my stouts and porters than I do for most other styles. Too low a pH with a lot of roasted grains makes for an acrid beer. "

Haven't brewed either stout or porter in a long time. However, wasn't it Denny whom recommended adding the roasted grains to the mash out for color and to avoid the harsh notes from actually mashing? It if wasn't Denny, it was someone whom I recently read.

It was certainly not me. I've tried it and been disappointed in the results
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Offline Megary

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2024, 06:02:08 pm »
Who gets harsh, acrid notes from mashing roasted grains?   ???

I thought the point of holding dark grains for a late steep is so they will not drop the main mash pH of a low-mineral/RO water profile too low.  I can also see a late steep giving lesser character from these dark grains and maybe being used more for color purposes than flavor.  That may be a great idea depending on the goal.  Everyone’s tastes are different, but I don’t equate roasty flavors derived from properly mashing dark grains with harshness.

Offline BrewBama

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PH reading
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2024, 07:00:14 pm »
It if wasn't Denny, it was someone whom I recently read.
Gordon Strong in Brewing Better Beer or Modern HomeBrew Recipes perhaps. 

Brewing Classic Styles recipes are written by using extract and steeping ‘specialty grains’ as well.  There is a recommendation for base malt mash to replace the extract in the notes to each recipe.

All extract recipes used to be written this way (maybe still are): rehydrate the base malt extract, heat to 150°F, add steeping grains via a steeping bag, steep 30 min, pull the bag, and continue to boil.

I brew similarly by mashing base malts for one hour with ~50 ppm Ca in deaerated RO water to make my own hydrated base malt extract. Only then do I add stylistic specialty grains for an additional 30 min at the same mash temp in the MLT.  I add additional stylistic salts, sugars, etc in the kettle as required.

Who gets harsh, acrid notes from mashing roasted grains? 

Some have experimented with cold steeping vs hot steeping to reduce acrid notes. I think it gets confused or combined with the pH issue of reserving specialty grains until after saccharification.


I thought the point of holding dark grains for a late steep is so they will not drop the main mash pH of a low-mineral/RO water profile too low.

 For me it is.

The premise is that enzymes need to be within a certain pH range with a bit of Ca to most efficiently convert the starch to sugar.  Reserving the variables eliminates potential interference with that reaction.

The one hour base malt mash pH is consistently repeatable brewday to brewday because stylistic variables such as specialty grains, salts, sugars, etc are reserved until after saccharification is complete.  Likewise, RO or distilled water is used to control variables.

Everyone’s tastes are different, …

Agreed. I find no lack of specialty malt character by reserving them until saccharification is complete.  Just like with any beer, if I do I take a note to add a bit more/less next time I brew it.  For example, I brewed a BCS recipe that called for 3% honey malt reserved until after saccharification. It was WAY too much for me. I’ll be sure NOT to do that again.

After years of brewing this way, just like with any recipe provided to any brewer using any method, this reserving variables method comes with a requirement to make minor fine tune adjustments to refine taste and color expectations.  1% honey malt may even be too much for me. I won’t know until I rebrew the recipe.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2024, 11:44:14 pm by BrewBama »

Offline brewthru

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2024, 02:48:55 pm »
"It was certainly not me. I've tried it and been disappointed in the results"

OK, Denny, sorry, as I've read many of your writings ;-) and thought it was you.

Offline denny

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2024, 03:27:59 pm »
"It was certainly not me. I've tried it and been disappointed in the results"

OK, Denny, sorry, as I've read many of your writings ;-) and thought it was you.

No problem.
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