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Old 03-31-2011, 07:35 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by bernerbrau View Post

And how do I do pH adjustments exactly? Stir the mash, leave it for 10 minutes, take a sample, if it's too high add more acid malt, if it's too low add chalk, then stir and repeat until the level is right?
Be sure to let the sample cool to room temp. before using the pH meter - using the pH meter on hot samples shortens the life of the probe (so I've heard).
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:47 PM   #102
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IMO it's easier to make on-the-fly adjustments using lactic acid. Once you've got a feel for it you'll usually get it real close using sauermalz. I've never had to increase mash pH yet and I've made Stouts using a lot of RO dilution.

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Old 05-29-2011, 10:22 PM   #103
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I am happy with my malt forward beers using this approach.

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Old 06-03-2011, 04:16 PM   #104
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I am about to brew an expensive and time consuming stout and I just want to be 100% clear on my water additions based upon Ajdelange's original sticky:

I use Poland Springs, which is documented to be soft. I will use about 10 gallons of water between mashing in and the sparge for a five gallon batch. Does this mean I add 2 TSP of Calcium Chloride before the mash? Thanks for any help!

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Old 06-03-2011, 05:12 PM   #105
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I doubt you'll be happy with just adding CaCl. That will further harden the soft water (which is good), but that water has low alkalinity and the mash pH will be far too low.

I just conducted an experiment on Monday while brewing a Dark Mild. Using RO water, all needed minerals excepting for lime were added to the mash along with the grain. The room-temp mash pH was just below 5.0. That is far too low for good tasting beer. I added portions of the amount of lime that Bru'n Water said I needed to have added. It took the full amount of lime calculated to bring the mash pH to a somewhat acceptable mash pH of 5.3. Its actually acceptable, but I prefer my darker beers to have their mash pH in the 5.4 to 5.5 range.

Lime is the preferred way to add alkalinity. But if you've only got a spoon to measure with and not a scale, then you're probably better off using chalk. I think EZ Water can help you with estimating what amount of chalk to add.

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Old 06-03-2011, 05:37 PM   #106
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Thank you for your response.

I have a scale, so that is good news. I will look into the lime as an additional adjustment.

What I don't understand is why the use the generic primer if it's not sufficient. This is not a criticism at all - I appreciate what ajdelange has done in the sticky. I'm just curious to hear some thoughts.

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Old 06-03-2011, 07:19 PM   #107
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If you brew with DI water
If you use Maris Otter as base malt
If you use 10% roast barley as the sole dark malt
Then you will get a mash pH of around 5.5
If you mash with water of modest alkalinity then your pH will be slightly higher.
If you follow Ashton Lewis's Irish Stout recipe (pale ale, 10% roast barley, flaked barley) as given in Michael Lewis's Stout monograph with modestly alkaline water you will get about the same pH.
If you use DI water with 20% roast barley you will get a pH close to 5.35
If you use DI water with 30% roast barley you will get a pH of close to 5.2
If you do anything else then I don't know exactly what will happen but common sense and experience (mine and others) dictates that if you keep the roast material at something close to the levels mentioned here you will probably get similar pH's.

If I put my (Ashton Lewis's really) recipe into Brun Water it predicts mash pH 5.1. I measure 5.55 every time I do this beer (± a couple of hundredths).

Martin puts a Brown into the same spreadsheet and calculates and then measures 5.0.

Bit of a discrepancy here and unfortunately it is up to you, the brewer, to decide what to do. There is really only one answer and that is not to rely on Primers or spreadsheets for more than general guidance. Buy a pH meter and use it in every brew. You will not be sorry you did.

It seems more likely from feedback here from those who have done this that you will have pH that is too high, as most beers require some acid, than low. The exception, of course, could be in dark beers, like stouts, where the dark malts can contribute quite a bit of acid. This is why the Primer does not advocate the addition of acid to stouts (or other dark beers) but does for other styles.

The Primer does not pretend to be all things to all men. It it intended to get you started and will, in most cases, get you a good beer. It really wants you to get started measuring mash pH (and the pH for other parts of the process too). I'd be willing to bet that you'd be just fine with only a CaCl2 addition but of you are using over 30% roast barley in your stout (and people do things like that) your pH could go below 5.3 and some alkali would be warranted. Even at 10% you could have low pH. I've seen Maris Otter turn in a DI mash pH of 5.6 and I've seen it turn in 5.8 (different maltsters).

If you decide to add alkali you won't ruin your beer. It just won't be as tasty as it could potentially be. And of course the same applies at the low end.

But if you really care, why take chances? Decent pH meters are available from most LHBSs at less than $100. I always point out that a pint at a good brew pub costs about $7 around here and recommend that you just brew 100/7 more pints to cover the cost of the meter.

I'll finish with A.J.'s first cannon of brewing: Never add alkali to brewing water nor to mash unless a measurement with a properly calibrated pH meter says you need to.

It's the first cannon because statistically (no formal data here of course) it seems excessively high pH is more likely to rear it's ugly head than low. If you follow the first cannon then, of course, you will have the meter to hand and can (and should) check whenever acid addition is contemplated.

Note: I do not (AFAIK) own stock in any company that manufactures or sells pH meters.

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Old 06-06-2011, 05:04 PM   #108
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from my limited experience i have decided to hold off on the acidulated malt also until i get a PH reading.
I'm usiing RODI water and was brewing a pilsner so expecting to need acidulated added it to the grain crush. PH went to 4.8.
on the other hand, when mashing for my ususal brews (somewhat darker and stronger belgian ales) I hit 5.2 or 5.3 consistently with just the recommended CaCl and gypsum additions.

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Old 06-06-2011, 05:52 PM   #109
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With mostly base (Pilsner) malt and 10% cara (pils or foam) you will, with RO/DI water have a mash pH of about 5.6-5.7. 2% sauermalz will lower this to about 5.4 - 5.5. 4.8 is not a reasonable number so this must have been measured with strips. They usually read 0.3 pH too low but sometimes even lower.

It is best, of course, to know what you mash pH is without sauermalz and base your sauermalz addition on that knowledge. Then make adjustments according as to what you observe in the mashtun with sauermalz.

Keep in mind that the mash pH with sauermalz plummets (could even go as low as 4.8) momentarily and then starts to rise. It is not stable at it's final pH for as much as 20 min to half an hour.

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Old 06-06-2011, 10:27 PM   #110
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I'm using a meter but maybe miscalibrated? or perhaps I read it when it spiked low and before it regulated up... I took my reading soon after doughing in. Either case would be good for me if it means the PH wasn't truly at 4.8.
It's been fementing cold for about 8 days. Is there anything to be gained by reading PH now?

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