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Old 06-06-2011, 11:45 PM   #111
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I'm using a meter but maybe miscalibrated?
Provided that the calibration was done the same day as the reading was made and that the buffers were good, that's not likely.

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.... or perhaps I read it when it spiked low and before it regulated up... I took my reading soon after doughing in.
That's most likely the case.


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It's been fementing cold for about 8 days. Is there anything to be gained by reading PH now?
Sure. I advocate taking a pH reading going into the fermentor and then starting about 6 hrs after pitching. If you see a healthy drop at this time you will know the fermentation is underway. The very first thing the yeast do is try to establish a pH they like and this shows before any visible sign of fermentation is apparent.

The pH will continue to drop for the first couple of days and then level off. At this point there is little point in taking additional readings but I always measure the pH of the finished beer. All this data will help you monitor the progress of future brews.

This is the perspective of a engineer. You may find all this data taking more trouble than it is worth.
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Old 06-09-2011, 04:28 PM   #112
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Curious if others have any feedback yet on their water tweaks...
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Me too!
I've adopted the baseline treatments as prescribed in the primer, most notably the addition of acid malt. My mashes have been consistently in the 5.2 - 5.4 range. I'm happy. I also have noticeably high sulfate content in my water, and AJ's recommendation to dilute with RO for noble hops has worked great for every style I brew, regardless of hop variety. My hoppy beers no longer have the "biting", almost astringent bitterness. The bitterness is still prounounced, but it seems much smoother, and more in line with the commercial styles I try to emulate. Thanks again AJ.
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Old 06-09-2011, 05:59 PM   #113
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I'll add that I've also adopted AJ's recommendations, and my beers have definitely been better. I typically add .25 to .5 tsp of gypsum to my baseline, and I use his burton profile for my ipas and pale ales, but my beers definitely taste better since.

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Old 06-20-2011, 06:19 PM   #114
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I've noticed in reading Gordon Strong's published recipes that what he does to his water is very close to what AJ would recommend (RO + CaCl for hefeweizen, RO + CaCl and gypsum for barleywine, etc).

Gordon won the AHA Ninkasi award the last three years. Hopefully he talks about water in his upcoming book on advanced brewing.
Since the book just recently came out, one word of caution if following his advice: the water where he lives has about 400ppm of bicarbonate, and about 100ppm of total hardness, which means RO with a 90% rejection rate (typical) will result in 40ppm of bicarb and 10ppm of total hardness. My water is considerably less alkaline, so at best I just need to cut my water with RO, and even then only if I'm doing a light lager. I've won plenty of awards for IPAs to barleywines to stouts doing very little with my water other than filtering it and adding enough phosphoric acid to drop the pH into the butter zone.

Regardless of whether you use RO or go with tap, your goal should be to have as few salts in the resulting water as possible, and you should be consistent in how you treat your water from brew to brew. The numbers given in the OP as targets are fantastic advice... I think 90% of all grain brewers over-think their water, and their beers actually *suffer* as a result.
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:03 PM   #115
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Most homebrew supply shops should have both lactic acid and phosphoric acid. I use lactic acid for German beer styles which traditionally would use saurmalz, and phosphoric acid for everything else since it is flavorless.

Are you saying that phosphoric acid is an acceptable substitute for sauer malz cited in the OP? If so, how do you best determine the amount to add?
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:29 PM   #116
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Are you saying that phosphoric acid is an acceptable substitute for sauer malz cited in the OP? If so, how do you best determine the amount to add?
I use Palmer's spreadsheet, after the salt additions you can dial in the amount of acid to add. The lactic and phosphoric are pretty much interchangeable, the % lactic it says to use gets me close enough.

Seriously, on every brew I spend maybe two minutes plugging in the SRM, picking 4-8 grams of salt to add (for a 10 gal batch) and then adjusting the acid until it matches the target RA. I then put the amounts to add in the "Notes" section of the recipe in BeerSmith so they print out in my brewsheet. That's as much thought as I give it, and my beers turn out fine.
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:56 PM   #117
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I use Palmer's spreadsheet, after the salt additions you can dial in the amount of acid to add. The lactic and phosphoric are pretty much interchangeable, the % lactic it says to use gets me close enough.

I'm sticking with OP's method for the present. I was just curious if the phosphoric acid could be used instead 2% sauer malz.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:04 PM   #118
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I'm sticking with OP's method for the present. I was just curious if the phosphoric acid could be used instead 2% sauer malz.
Certainly. I know plenty of folks who have had good success with the sauermalz, but I prefer acid since I don't know the % acid content of my malt and it doesn't store well (for some reason acidulated malt seems to attract weevils at my house).
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:21 PM   #119
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I'm sticking with OP's method for the present. I was just curious if the phosphoric acid could be used instead 2% sauer malz.
It can be. They're both used simply for pH adjustments... not sure what you're having an issue with.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:22 PM   #120
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...since I don't know the % acid content of my malt and it doesn't store well (for some reason acidulated malt seems to attract weevils at my house).
That's what Gamma Plastic's Vittles Vaults are for. Needless to say a 55 lb sack of sauermalz lasts a pretty long time around here. No weevils, no loss of acidity, no rancid smells. Those things are FM for grain storage.

The big plusses with sauermalz is that it adds complexity to flavor as well as doing the pH reduction and it is so easy to calculate/measure. The 1%/0.1pH rule of thumb really seems to work. Someone will find a case where it doesn't in which case the brewer would have to adjust.
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