Author Topic: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer  (Read 4370 times)

Offline cenosillica

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Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« on: July 07, 2011, 02:46:34 PM »
My last couple of brews, I used a product called 5.2 stabilizer added during the mash. Then pre-boil, I added my brewing salts. By doing this, it seems my beers are coming out grainy with a low malt profile, almost like mineral water. Is that because the 5.2 stabilizer is essentially like adding brewing salts? I started using it cause I was lazy and didn't want to buy a bunch of stuff to test and adjust PH levels in my mash. I'm willing to go the extra mile if this is changing my water profile causing the grainy tastes. Any thoughts?

Offline denny

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Re: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2011, 02:53:39 PM »
I haven't found 5.2 to be at all effective in controlling pH.  In addition, the buffers it uses add a large amount of sodium, which isn't a good thing for flavor.  Since you're treating your water anyway, I recommend you ditch the 5.2.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2011, 03:00:12 PM »
I agree with Denny. 

I gave it try for the same reason you did, laziness.  After 4 brews I gave up on it making any improvements.  It seemed to cause me more issues than it might have fixed.

YMMV

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Offline tom

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Re: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2011, 03:30:19 PM »
When I moved to softer water I tried it for a porter - no help at all even at 3 times the suggested dose (checked with a pH meter).
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Offline nateo

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Re: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2011, 03:35:23 PM »
As much as I love 5star's other product, their 5.2 is just junk. Doesn't do what it claims to do at all. I've found it to have a detrimental effect on the beer flavor. You can get an inexpensive pH meter for around $50-60 with the calibration and storage solutions.

I used to use the EMD precision strips, which I know a lot of people dislike because of their lack of precision, but I found them to be a lot better than nothing. $20 for a pack of 100. You can cut the strips in half and they'll last basically forever.
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Offline jhwk

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Re: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2011, 03:54:23 PM »
5.2 is a buffer.  It's not made to make you wort got to a pH of 5.2... Common misconception.  If you are having difficulty attaining a proper pH level, then you need to add acids to your mash AND use a buffer, 5.2 is a great one, to make sure you don't over shoot your target.  Too many folks use 5.2 like it is the magic cure all for water.
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Offline zorch

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Re: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2011, 04:14:15 PM »
Then pre-boil, I added my brewing salts.

I see you are adding additional salts to the kettle, and not doing anything to the mash (other than the 5.2).

Why are you bothering to add any salts at all?   What are you trying to do?   Have you tried brewing with your water as-is?   

The most common mistake I see when people (including myself) start worrying about water chemistry is the tendency to _over modify_ their water.  Do you know what the ionic profile of your water is to begin with?   Are you trying to match some published 'historic water profile' from some region?    To be frank, most of those are misleading and/or wrong, and trying to achieve them leads to salty water...

My advice would be to:

1) Understand the chemistry of the water you are using.   So, either track down the annual water report from your water district (if you are on tap), or get your water analyzed http://www.wardlab.com (test W-5 is the one you want).  Or use distilled/reverse osmosis water.

2)  Download and use Martin Brungard's excellent Bru'n Water spreadsheet: http://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/    This is really an excellent tool, and in my experience so far very accurate.  I do have a pH meter, and since I've starting using Bru'n Water my pH has consistently come in within 0.1 of my target pH.    I'm at the point now where I probably won't bother using my pH meter anymore.

In my opinion, if you get a handle on your starting water chemistry, and use Bru'n Water correctly, you will be good to go - No reason to have a pH meter.

Offline denny

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Re: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2011, 04:22:10 PM »
get your water analyzed http://www.wardlab.com (test W-5 is the one you want). 

Test W-6 will give you all the info you need for brewing water and is $10 cheaper.
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Offline cenosillica

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Re: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2011, 04:43:47 PM »
For the record, I'm using RO water. That way, I figure I'm starting from a clean slate. Besides, the city I live in, the city tap water is nasty.

Offline johnf

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Re: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2011, 04:56:20 PM »
5.2 is a buffer.  It's not made to make you wort got to a pH of 5.2... Common misconception.

I wonder why people have that misconception?

Oh yeah, because that is what the manufacturer claims.

5.2 is a proprietary blend of buffers that will lock in your mash and kettle water at a pH of 5.2 regardless of the starting pH of your water.

My primary problem with the name is that regardless of the fact that 5.2 is too weak of a buffer to do anything in a mash, it buffers at 5.76 or so, not 5.2. So the simple title of the product is misleading/incorrect.

Offline zorch

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Re: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2011, 05:07:54 PM »
get your water analyzed http://www.wardlab.com (test W-5 is the one you want). 

Test W-6 will give you all the info you need for brewing water and is $10 cheaper.

Oops, yes, the cheaper one is the one you want. :)

Offline thcipriani

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Re: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2011, 05:14:24 PM »
Also, let's not forget when Kai sent water dosed with 5.2 off to Ward - It proved unequivocally that 5.2's anion was Sodium. So not only do phosphate buffers work extremely poorly in the mash pH range, you're also adding 100ppm sodium to your beer at the recommended dose!
Tyler Cipriani
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Offline gymrat

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Re: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2011, 05:36:07 PM »
Crap! I tried that stuff in my red ale. I sure hope I didn't mess it up.
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Offline thcipriani

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Re: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2011, 07:20:56 PM »
In the interest of full disclosure I used to use 5.2 and I've actually made award-winning beers with it; however, I'm the first to admit that it was more of a hindrance than a help.

That just goes to show you what a truly tiny difference water actually makes - I was brewing with Burton level sulfates (around 400ppm) and 5.2 and I still turned out very good beer. My beer may have been improved by using different water; however, using the absolute worst water it was still pretty good. Brewing is more about adapting ingredients and recipes to your process than the other way around - back when, I always brewed with bad water so my recipes likely evolved around it - just like historic water profiles/historic beer.
Tyler Cipriani
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Offline beerprof

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Re: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2011, 04:47:16 PM »
Also, let's not forget when Kai sent water dosed with 5.2 off to Ward - It proved unequivocally that 5.2's anion was Sodium.
Sodium is a cation not an anion...

Never used 5.2 but since starting to use sauer malt in my grist at about 3% pH has been good.
Chemistry, not just my job; it's a way of life...