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Old 02-19-2014, 03:04 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mchrispen View Post
You can and should target recipe specific profiles (with some reasoning and research) when you think that your beer will benefit.
Can you explain this more? I've been targeting a pH of 5.4 because it's smack dab in the middle of the, "optimum range," per Bru'n Water. And this is for the hoppiest IPA's to the biggest of stouts. Should I be targeting different pHs for different beers?

And this is a great thread. I see myself in a lot of these posts.
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:15 PM   #12
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Should I be targeting different pHs for different beers?
I can only really give you my process, with the caveat that there is a lot of inference from research, so the accuracy of my assumptions is questionable. I am continually seeking to control those things that I can truly control in the brewhouse, and mash pH is a small tweak that I can use to nuance a beer, hopefully for the better. Obviously recipe, mash regimen, water makeup, proper fermentation control and beer handling are far more important than minor pH shifts.

First, nothing wrong with 5.4 as a target and that is where I prefer my hoppier beers. Martin has posted data points that imply a stronger hop expression in the kettle at slightly higher boil pH - and mash pH translates into the boil kettle, where it is reduced. I have seen more narrow ranges than 5.2-5.8, like 5.2-5.4, and since I have been able to control mash pH reasonably - been pushing mash pH up or down based on the beer style - and where I can find a data point that might justify it. I build from RO - so this process is fairly straightforward from a blank slate.

For example, I tend to mash wits/weisens and saisons targeting 5.2 mash pH, and that seems to enhance the sourness/acidity I expect in those styles. Wits might get a touch of calcium chloride where the saisons might get a little gypsum. A roastier beer, like a porter, I might push up to 5.5 to enhance the roast bitterness, where a milk stout might fall at 5.3 or so. It just depends. I will try to think about the style's region, look at the water profile and try to determine how the water is treated - and seek out some beers that will be similar to my recipe. I use Bru'n to model the additions and look at driving mash pH in a couple of directions, and think through what my goal is for a given beer.

I may brew couple of 1 gallon BIAB test batches and try to refine the mineral profile and recipe if needed before committing to a full 11 gallon volume brew. It's a handy way to evaluate side by side, and makes a great starter for larger batches. I very much enjoy this process and welcome the practice. I should add that I only submit to competition a few times a year - and while my scores have improved a lot, I don't have enough BJCP scores or wins that prove this makes a lick of difference, just the increased approval of my friends (with a few professional brewers and judges) and my own palate.
Matt Chrispen
Bastrop, Texas
www.accidentalis.com - blogging from the garage brewery
Bru'n Water Walkthrough
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