Author Topic: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions  (Read 2187 times)

Offline Mile Hi Brewing Supplies

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Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« on: January 07, 2010, 07:18:06 PM »
Hey guys-

We're having a little discussion in my club regarding the use of 5.2 Stabilizer, in particular when using RO water.  One position is that adding minerals AND 5.2 is at best unnecessary, but may even hinder the effectiveness of the buffers in 5.2.  Also, this individual maintains that there are enough nutrients in malted barley (coupled with 5.2) to "fuel" the mash enzymatic processes, the various boil processes, and the yeast nutrients needed in the ferment...such that no additional minerals need to be added during any of the 3 phases.

Others think that there may be a need for additional minerals particularly when brewing hoppy beers. 

I've never seen this issue addressed specifically, so I'd like to know what you guys think.  Appreciate the help.

Chris
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2010, 07:58:01 PM »
Personally, I feel like 5.2 is a crutch. It MAY help you get your pH in range if your pH was close to begin with, but you have to test to be sure, and once you're at that point I don't feel like the mineral additions to really tweak your water are much more effort.

IMHO none of the ions homebrewers target are "necessary", although calcium is important for a number of reactions, which is why it's generally suggested it be above 25 or 50 ppm. There are almost certainly enough "nutrients" in an all-malt mash to take care of everything the yeast need.

Edit: you may not have seen this topic: http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=887.0
« Last Edit: January 07, 2010, 08:03:10 PM by a10t2 »
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Offline Mile Hi Brewing Supplies

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2010, 08:30:11 PM »
Interesting...and thanks for the link to the prior thread.  I raised this issue recently because I just got a pH meter and noticed that my mash was at 5.5, in spite of having used 5.2 and adding minerals.  I couldn't understand these results and became suspicious of the 5.2.  Based on what I've just read, I think the right thing to do is to toss the 5.2.

Can anyone comment on the mineral/nutrient content of malted barley and malted wheat?  Do they contain sufficient minerals and other nutrients (when used with RO water) to carry out an effective mash, boil, and fermentation?

By the way, with regard to the content of 5.2, I read in another forum the following:

"A blend of two salts. They are neutralized versions of phosphoric acid. They are monosodium phosphate (Na H2 PO4) and disodium phosphate (Na2HPO4) in the right ratio they will form a buffer that locks the pH at 5.2".

Don't know if this sheds any light on the chemical makeup, or even if it's accurate.  Just passing it on...
Chris  
« Last Edit: January 07, 2010, 08:34:24 PM by ocdbrewer »
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2010, 06:40:29 AM »
Ocdbrewer - if you pH was at 5.5 at room temp. it will be 5.2 at mash temp.  Maybe you already know that.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline Mile Hi Brewing Supplies

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2010, 07:17:31 AM »
My pH meter is ATC so, hopefully, it accounted for the pH shift resulting from the higher temperature.  Hopefully...

Based on the other thread, I now assume this higher pH was caused by mixing the 5.2 with certain minerals (such as chalk and baking soda).  If my thinking is off base (likely...), I'm sure someone will point that out!

Thanks!
Chris
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Offline ndcube

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2010, 07:31:46 AM »
I believe that ATC just means it corrects probe errors at higher temps.  It doesn't correct pH measurements.

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2010, 07:32:35 AM »
Also, this individual maintains that there are enough nutrients in malted barley (coupled with 5.2) to "fuel" the mash enzymatic processes,

As long as the pH is ok, minerals from the water are not needed in mashing. You can mash with distilled water w/o problems.

Calcium has benefits protein coagulation and therefore helps during lautering and boiling. But having brewed very clear beers with just 20 ppm Ca in the water I don’t think that it takes a lot of water minerals for excellent beer.


"A blend of two salts. They are neutralized versions of phosphoric acid. They are monosodium phosphate (Na H2 PO4) and disodium phosphate (Na2HPO4) in the right ratio they will form a buffer that locks the pH at 5.2".

This may have come from A.J. deLange. The big problem here is that phosphate is a very poor buffer at or around 5.2 since none of the pKas of phosphoric acid is close to that. Buffers work best at or around one of the pKas of the weak acid that is used. My epxperiments have shown that 5.2 doesn’t show any buffering at 5.2 or 5.5. Once you get to 5.8 it starts to act and tries to keep the pH from rising. Keep in mind that 5.8 (room temp sample) is still an acceptable mash pH.

But this statement also supports the speculation that you are adding a lot of sodium to your mash when you are using 5.2

if you pH was at 5.5 at room temp. it will be 5.2 at mash temp.  Maybe you already know that.

I have looked into this and found the pH shift is more like 0.2 and not the widely cited 0.35. It doesn’t matter much for practical brewing since we are working with room temp sample pH values anyway but it is one of those statements in the brewing literature for which I would like to see how it was determined. A temp correcting pH meter lets you test the actual pH of a hot and a cold sample. If you don’t mind subjecting the probe to the hot environment you can try it. I’m always interested if other brewers see the same as so do.

If you are testing the mash with colorpHast strips (hot or cold) you will get a ~0.3 pH units lower reading due to a systematic error that these strips have. Here is some info on that: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=An_Evaluation_of_the_suitability_of_colorpHast_strips_for_pH_measurements_in_home_brewing .

Kai


« Last Edit: January 08, 2010, 09:32:57 AM by Kaiser »

Offline Mile Hi Brewing Supplies

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2010, 08:05:14 AM »
I was hoping to hear from you, Kai.  :)  I've read a lot of your studies and experiments...great stuff!  Now if only I could understand half of it!

So, the ATC pH meters DO correct the pH reading based on the temperature of the solution, correct?  I've been simply placing it directly in the mash...not the right thing to do?  Sounds like I should remove a sample from the mash prior to testing...please confirm.

Regarding the sodium levels...I think you're right.  I've definitely been double-dipping, in that respect.

Regarding the minerals:  I understand that I don't need to add them to the mash or sparge (except maybe some calcium), but what about the boil (for yeast nutrition)?  Should mineral additions be made there, or does the malt provide sufficient nutrients for the yeast?

I really appreciate your help with this.

Chris
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Online Kaiser

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2010, 08:23:46 AM »
I was hoping to hear from you, Kai.  :)  I've read a lot of your studies and experiments...great stuff!  Now if only I could understand half of it!

Just give it some time. I had to read about water chemistry from many different sources before it made “click”

Quote
So, the ATC pH meters DO correct the pH reading based on the temperature of the solution, correct?  I've been simply placing it directly in the mash...not the right thing to do?  Sounds like I should remove a sample from the mash prior to testing...please confirm.

It took me a while before I was able to piece all of it together and the subject of pH measurement and optimal mash pH is a really confusing one with a lot of different statements made.

long answer here: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=An_Overview_of_pH#pH_meters (the complete pH overview article is useful too)

short answer. pH meter readings are affected by 2 effects: temp sensitivity of the probe and temp dependent pH change of the sample. An ATC pH meter only corrects for the temp sensitivity of the probe. No meter can correct for the temp dependent pH change of the sample since it depends on the chemical composition of the sample. pH optima for mash, boil, wort are generally reported as room temp sample pH sine it is laboratory practice to cool or heat samples to room temp first. By doing so you eliminate the temp dependent pH shift of the sample. pH probes also don’t like to be used in hot solutions even if they are rated for that temp. I draw a small sample that I cool in a small porcelain which I store in the freezer. I always have about 3 of these in the freezer. Beer samples are heated to 25 C. With that practice I also don’t need an ATC pH meter.

Quote
Regarding the minerals:  I understand that I don't need to add them to the mash or sparge (except maybe some calcium), but what about the boil (for yeast nutrition)?  Should mineral additions be made there, or does the malt provide sufficient nutrients for the yeast?

While all of this is true I only add minerals to the water and don’t bother worrying about separate mash and boil additions.

Kai

Offline Mile Hi Brewing Supplies

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2010, 08:38:22 AM »
OK, we have clarity on the pH meter and the Stabilizer!  Thanks a LOT for that (to all the responders).

One more clarification, Kai.  You say you just add minerals to the water and don't worry about separating them between mash and boil.  Do you mean you treat the mash and sparge water, and not the boil?  One reason I started this thread is because a fellow brewer...who appears to be well educated from a chemistry standpoint, maintains that NO mineral additions are needed to any brewing water, since the malted barley contains sufficient yeast nutrients.  I gather from you previous posts you agree with that to a point, but may add calcium.  So my question is, do you add that to the sparge water, the mash water, or the boil?  Or does it not make any difference?  (I suspect it makes no difference...).

Thanks again!

Chris
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Offline ndcube

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2010, 09:25:26 AM »
If you are testing the mash with colorpHast strips (hot or cold) you will get a ~0.3 pH units higher reading due to a systematic error that these strips have. Here is some info on that: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=An_Evaluation_of_the_suitability_of_colorpHast_strips_for_pH_measurements_in_home_brewing .

Kai

Did you mean lower?

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2010, 09:33:25 AM »
Did you mean lower?

Yes.

Thanks. I fixed that in the post.

Kai

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2010, 09:38:53 AM »
To me, it seems like the OP concerns 2 different issues...pH and nutrients.  To my way of thinking, even if 5.2 did adjust your pH issues, you might still need to add minerals that the beer and yeast need for flavor and yeast health.
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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2010, 09:41:41 AM »
One reason I started this thread is because a fellow brewer...who appears to be well educated from a chemistry standpoint, maintains that NO mineral additions are needed to any brewing water, since the malted barley contains sufficient yeast nutrients.  I gather from you previous posts you agree with that to a point, but may add calcium.  So my question is, do you add that to the sparge water, the mash water, or the boil?  Or does it not make any difference?  (I suspect it makes no difference...).

His point is that they are not needed and don’t have to be added to the mash. If adding then later works better for him then this is what he can do. There is no harm in having them come from the water either so I just put them all into the water. In fact that’s how it all started. Brewers figured out that minerals in the water make a difference and later learned that they can also add them to the boil if they aren’t in the water.

The only place where I see that it can make a difference is for sparge water. There it is beneficial to use low alkalinity water in order to keep the pH from being raised during the sparge. Here I agree that it may make a difference if you add the salts for the sparge water to the boil. But I don’t do that either. I just don’t sparge aggressively enough for pH to be a problem during sparging even if I use highly alkaline water. And adding salts to anything but the water doesn’t comply with the Reinheitsgebot. I like to follow that in my brewing. More out of pride and tradition than for practical or better beer reasons.

Kai

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Re: Stabilzer and Mineral Additions
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2010, 09:44:10 AM »
[And adding salts to anything but the water doesn’t comply with the Reinheitsgebot. I like to follow that in my brewing. More out of pride and tradition than for practical or better beer reasons.

Kai


Whereas I prefer to thumb my nose at it and do whatever the hell I feel like!  ;)
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