Author Topic: 5.2 stablizer and partial mash  (Read 4630 times)

Offline James Lorden

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5.2 stablizer and partial mash
« on: October 31, 2011, 07:14:29 AM »
When this stuff came out a few years back I tried it but never added it permanently to my process.  I find water additions when doing all-grain to be a fun part of brewing.  Besides, I don't add salts simply for the pH adjustments, there is also a flavor component involved.

When I started doing a few partial mashes this year it occurred to me that I really have no idea what the mineral carryover from the extract is going to be so I hesitate to add my normal brewing salts for fear of not knowing what the ending quantities will be in the finished product.  Also, with the high proportion of specialty malt to base grain in most partial mash recipes I think it's hard to accurately calculate the pH adjustment that salts will cause.

For these reasons above, the 5.2 stablizer is back in my life.  I find tha it is a good product to use when you are unsure of some of the water chemistry variables which often happens during partial mash.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: 5.2 stablizer and partial mash
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2011, 07:23:19 AM »
Is it working out for you? I've never actually heard of anyone who was successfully able to use it to adjust mash pH.
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Offline James Lorden

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Re: 5.2 stablizer and partial mash
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2011, 07:36:25 AM »
Limited use so far (5 5gallon batches) but I'd say it's working ok.  I'd also point out that my water out of the tap is very soft.  It seemed to work better on the darker beers I made.  I made a few lighter beers that didn't have any caramel or roasted malt and for those I did add a few ml of lactic to dial in the mash pH at around 5.4 measured at room temp.

Some have said in the past that there is an off flavor added by the 5.2 but I would point out that I entered a few of these extracts in a recent BJCP event and they were medal winners.
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Offline denny

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Re: 5.2 stablizer and partial mash
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2011, 08:23:53 AM »
Limited use so far (5 5gallon batches) but I'd say it's working ok.  I'd also point out that my water out of the tap is very soft.  It seemed to work better on the darker beers I made.  I made a few lighter beers that didn't have any caramel or roasted malt and for those I did add a few ml of lactic to dial in the mash pH at around 5.4 measured at room temp.

Some have said in the past that there is an off flavor added by the 5.2 but I would point out that I entered a few of these extracts in a recent BJCP event and they were medal winners.

Did you check the pH after you added it?
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Offline skyler

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Re: 5.2 stablizer and partial mash
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2011, 08:26:55 AM »
If you have soft water and you are using it for dark beers, it works all right, in my experience. But if you are using hard water already, or you are trying to acidify your mash, 5.2 will not work. IMO, it's no easier (and less effective) than just doing the math with Bru'n Water and building your water from scratch.

What James says makes sense to me, as far as partial mashes are concerned, though I suspect Bru'n Water could still help you figure out what you need to do there (presumably adding acid or chalk to the mash).

Offline James Lorden

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Re: 5.2 stablizer and partial mash
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2011, 07:46:28 AM »
I suspect Bru'n Water could still help you figure out what you need to do there (presumably adding acid or chalk to the mash).

I think you are probably right but I am more concerned with the mineral levels in the finished beer since those salts will probably carry over.  I am guessing that because of the high specialty malt level I might have to add a lot of salts to adjust pH.  I am worried that when these salts move to the boil along with my water's minerals, and the unknown amount of minerals in the extract - that the mineral levels in the finished beer might be too high.
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Offline James Lorden

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Re: 5.2 stablizer and partial mash
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2011, 07:49:06 AM »
Did you check the pH after you added it?

Yeah, the pH I quoted is after the 5.2 stablizer. What I didn't do (because I initially wasn't intending to do an experiment) was check the pH before I added the 5.2 inorder to calculate the shift it created.  That might be a good next test the next few times that I use it.
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Offline Kit B

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Re: 5.2 stablizer and partial mash
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2011, 09:06:36 AM »
Mineral levels in quality extracts are already at optimum levels...No need to add pixie dust.

I recently wanted to buy a pH meter.
I walked into one of my local shops & requested to see their meters.
One of the guys behind the counter said "Oh, you need some 5.2", to which I replied, "No...I don't put things in my beer that don't show the exact contents, on the label...I build my water".
He looked almost angry & told me that a pH meter was a waste of my money & that I "need" 5.2 stabilizer.

Thankfully, I don't shop there on a regular basis.
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Offline tom

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Re: 5.2 stablizer and partial mash
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2011, 03:36:39 PM »
When I moved into Denver and started using its soft water, I tried some 5.2 in a porter.  The mash pH started at 4.90.  I added 1 T of 5.2, stirred and let it rest for a few minutes and the pH was 4.90.  A 2nd T had the same result.  A third T (I don't know why) raised it all the way up to 4.94.  So, in my experinece, it doesn't work for soft water and dark beers.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2011, 05:01:32 PM by tom »
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Offline DW

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Re: 5.2 stablizer and partial mash
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2011, 03:46:20 PM »
What is the best way to measure pH?  Does everyone have a meter?  Does litmus paper work just as well? 

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Re: 5.2 stablizer and partial mash
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2011, 03:50:07 PM »
What is the best way to measure pH?  Does everyone have a meter?  Does litmus paper work just as well? 

A meter is the best way.  Papers work if you don't get the cheapo ones.  Get ColorpHast papers.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: 5.2 stablizer and partial mash
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2011, 03:55:27 PM »
When I moved into Denver and started using its soft water, I tried some 5.2 in a porter.  The mash pH started at 4.90.  I added 1 T of 5.2, stirred and let it rest for a few minites and the pH was 4.90.  A 2nd T had the same result.  A third T (I don't know why) raised it all the way up to 4.94.  So, in my experinece, it doesn't work for soft water and dark beers.

That is a surprise.  The chemistry of that product should have supplied buffers that would actually raise the mash pH.  It tends to buffer into a pH of around 5.8 according to some research by Troester.
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Offline jamminbrew

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Re: 5.2 stablizer and partial mash
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2011, 04:25:27 PM »
When I moved into Denver and started using its soft water, I tried some 5.2 in a porter.  The mash pH started at 4.90.  I added 1 T of 5.2, stirred and let it rest for a few minites and the pH was 4.90.  A 2nd T had the same result.  A third T (I don't know why) raised it all the way up to 4.94.  So, in my experinece, it doesn't work for soft water and dark beers.

That is a surprise.  The chemistry of that product should have supplied buffers that would actually raise the mash pH.  It tends to buffer into a pH of around 5.8 according to some research by Troester.

I live in Colorado Springs, and I had the same problem. I tried it, and it didn't raise the pH either.
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Offline tom

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Re: 5.2 stablizer and partial mash
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2011, 05:03:56 PM »
When I moved into Denver and started using its soft water, I tried some 5.2 in a porter.  The mash pH started at 4.90.  I added 1 T of 5.2, stirred and let it rest for a few minites and the pH was 4.90.  A 2nd T had the same result.  A third T (I don't know why) raised it all the way up to 4.94.  So, in my experinece, it doesn't work for soft water and dark beers.

That is a surprise.  The chemistry of that product should have supplied buffers that would actually raise the mash pH.  It tends to buffer into a pH of around 5.8 according to some research by Troester.

What can I say?
Has anyone who tests their mash pH found it to be helpful?
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Offline James Lorden

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Re: 5.2 stablizer and partial mash
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2011, 07:01:28 PM »
Has anyone who tests their mash pH found it to be helpful?


Yes, as I said in the original post - when I do a partial mash where I'm more interested in mash pH and not so much in mineral content - I find it very useful.  Partial mashes have some whacky grist ratio's and it works for me to consistently come in around 5.4
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