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Old 08-02-2012, 06:00 PM   #1
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Default Mash PH questions

Ok I am new to adjusting my water and would like some advice. First of all here is my report average:

Calcium:35
Magnesium:8
Sodium:75
Sulfates:122
Chloride:65
Total Alkalinity:57
PH:7.8
Total Hardness:121

My recipe is a Robust Porter:

11 pounds Marris Otter
.25 pounds Victory Malt
.75 pounds Crystal 70L
.75 pounds Black Malt
.50 pounds Chocolate
.25 pounds Carapils

Add 1.7gms or 1/2 teaspoon of Calcium Chloride putting my Calcium at 60 and my Chlorides at 108.

Mash at 154 for 1 hour

Aiming for a PH of 5.3 or 5.4


Now, I've plugged all of this into brewing water and have some questions. It says right now my mash PH should be 5.65.

1. It's not asking for my water PH. Does it assume it's around 8?

2. I thought dark grains were supposed to drive down the Mash PH significantly ending up too low. This is too high.

3. If I add 3ml of 88% Lactic Acid it will drop my PH to 5.45, but I have my doubts about adding that much lactic acid and it not affecting the flavor of my beer. Plus it drops my RA to -122. I thought RA was supposed to be high for a porter?

I guess my question is does the EZ Water calculation seem right? This is my first time adjusting water and I don't want to go nuts. Just get my Calcium to correct levels and have my mash PH be in the correct range. Thanks in advance.

Oh, I also had a side question. I am moving my brewing to another location. The water is run through a water softener. Should I use this water? Wouldn't a water report that I get be way off after it's been run through the softener? Thanks.

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Old 08-02-2012, 06:01 PM   #2
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I've plugged it into the EZ Water Calculator*

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Old 08-02-2012, 06:11 PM   #3
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Adding that much Lactic Acid will drop it to 5.39, not 5.45. I accidentally had 2 grams of baking soda still in there from screwing around with it.

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Old 08-02-2012, 06:56 PM   #4
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I've never used EZ water, but I use Palmer's spread sheet for all my brews with great results. I'm no expert, but I'll share what I came up with. Your water profile is not ideal for a dark beer, so it took some tweaking and I used 75% dillution. I assumed you would be mashing in with 4 gallons of water. This means you will need to use 3/4 distilled water (3 gal) to 1/4 tap (1 gal). For salt additions I have 3.5g CaCO3, 0.5g CaCl, and 3g baking soda (NaHCO3). This leaves you with Ca - 110, Mag - 2, Na - 73, Cl - 32, Sulfate - 31, RA - 283. You definitely do not want to add any acid because the dark malts will already bring down the Ph below the ideal zone, hence all the carbonates I've added back in. This is what I would do with your water profile. As for the water softner, do not use softened water to brew with, ever! Hope this helps.

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Old 08-03-2012, 01:39 AM   #5
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Thanks for The suggestions. I'm actually mashing with just over 5 gallons. 1.5 quarts per pound. So you think the dark grains will definitely take the PH too low with the water I have? I'm not opposed to the idea of adding dark grains at the end of the boil. I've been going back and forth deciding if I want to add them all at once or at the end.

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Old 08-03-2012, 01:45 AM   #6
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End of the mash rather

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Old 08-03-2012, 01:47 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by briggssteel View Post
Thanks for The suggestions. I'm actually mashing with just over 5 gallons. 1.5 quarts per pound. So you think the dark grains will definitely take the PH too low with the water I have? I'm not opposed to the idea of adding dark grains at the end of the boil. I've been going back and forth deciding if I want to add them all at once or at the end.
I would NOT add baking soda! It tastes bad. You can't add chalk successfully without bubbling co2 through it- so forget the CaCo3.

Let me take a look and see a likely pH.

But before I do, you said you have a report "average". That's not good as sometimes the average isn't indicative at all as to what is actually coming out of the tap. If your average alkalinity is, say, 10-150, for example, then the information is useless. What does your report actually say?
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Old 08-03-2012, 03:07 AM   #8
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I would NOT add baking soda! It tastes bad. You can't add chalk successfully without bubbling co2 through it- so forget the CaCo3.

Let me take a look and see a likely pH.

But before I do, you said you have a report "average". That's not good as sometimes the average isn't indicative at all as to what is actually coming out of the tap. If your average alkalinity is, say, 10-150, for example, then the information is useless. What does your report actually say?


I've attached a screen shot of the water report sent to me by the plant. It has all of the months listed and the averages. I notice sodium is a bit all over the place and sulfates a bit as well. They are fairly consistent for the most part. I'll be interested to see what you get. EZ Water is giving me about 5.4 mashing all the grains in. However I haven't had a chance to measure the PH of my mashes yet so I have no experience in how the darker grains will affect my PH. Thanks in advance! I appreciate you taking the time to help out a fellow homebrewer.
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Old 08-03-2012, 01:46 PM   #9
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I would NOT add baking soda! It tastes bad. You can't add chalk successfully without bubbling co2 through it- so forget the CaCo3.

Let me take a look and see a likely pH.

But before I do, you said you have a report "average". That's not good as sometimes the average isn't indicative at all as to what is actually coming out of the tap. If your average alkalinity is, say, 10-150, for example, then the information is useless. What does your report actually say?
Sure baking soda would taste bad if you used too much, but if you balance the minerals, there won't be a problem. I've never heard about the chalk/co2 thing, where did you get that info? I would like to read about it. Here's what Palmer says about chalk, "Because of its limited solubility it is only effective when added directly to the mash." I use both baking soda and chalk when necessary with effective results and no bad taste. Just watch out for high levels of both sodium and sulfate because that will taste bad.
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Old 08-03-2012, 02:41 PM   #10
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Sure baking soda would taste bad if you used too much, but if you balance the minerals, there won't be a problem. I've never heard about the chalk/co2 thing, where did you get that info? I would like to read about it. Here's what Palmer says about chalk, "Because of its limited solubility it is only effective when added directly to the mash." I use both baking soda and chalk when necessary with effective results and no bad taste. Just watch out for high levels of both sodium and sulfate because that will taste bad.
I got the info in several places but this is the best place to explain it: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php...issolved_chalk

It's all relevant, but the short answer is in the middle of the page:

"Now that we know how to dissolve chalk in water we need to ask us why put forth this effort? Especially since the mash will provide an acid environment that should dissolve any chalk that wasn't dissolved in the water. At mash pH (~5.5) less than 0.00005 % of the carbo species are carbonate.

For some reason, however, mash pH experiments conducted with suspended and dissolved chalk showed that suspended, i.e. undissolved chalk, is limited in its ability to raise the mash pH. This is shown in Figure 4. Undissolved chalk was unable to raise the mash pH by more than 0.2 units. This was the case for both Pilsner and Munich malt mashes and does not seem to depend on the acidity of the malt. Dissolved chalk, on the other hand, showed a nice fairly linear relationship between chalk concentration and pH.

I tested this in a side-by-side experiment where I brewed a Schwarzbier with water that had suspended chalk and water that had dissolved chalk. Based on the mash pH research I knew that, when dissolving it, I could use only half the chalk and would still get the same mash pH. That was validated in the experiment." (Kai Troester)
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