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Old 02-26-2013, 05:33 PM   #1
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Default Mash Water pH

I don't yet know how this applies to me. I will be moving into BIAB and doing full boils for lower and medium gravity beers. Obviously(?), with BIAB, the volume of mashing water is very different than with conventional AG brewing.

I guess my question applies to both conventional and BIAB brewing.. and it is:

Is there a calculator of some sort that will help me determine just how much lactic acid or phosphoric acid I need to add to the batch once I know what the mash pH is?

I don't know volumes yet.. but, say for grins, I have put 8 G of water into my BK and bring it up to 160* and put my 12 lbs of grains in, stir, cover.. and check the pH in 15 minutes.. I find the pH is 5.8. Then arises the question.. is there a way to ball park the amount of LA or PH to add knowing the percentage of each to get the pH down to 5.2 for example.

Seems like I've seen people plug the numbers in and come up with "X" ml's

For my tired old brain, I can't seem to learn Martin's spreadsheet without some young person's help.. but there may be others that are "simpler"??

Thanks

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Old 02-26-2013, 05:48 PM   #2
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Try http://www.ezwatercalculator.com/

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Old 02-26-2013, 05:48 PM   #3
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[quote=ThreeGnomes;4946541]
Is there a calculator of some sort that will help me determine just how much lactic acid or phosphoric acid I need to add to the batch once I know what the mash pH is?
[quote]

You can try this one: http://www.brewersfriend.com/mash-ch...er-calculator/

[quote]
I don't know volumes yet.. but, say for grins, I have put 8 G of water into my BK and bring it up to 160* and put my 12 lbs of grains in, stir, cover.. and check the pH in 15 minutes.. I find the pH is 5.8. Then arises the question.. is there a way to ball park the amount of LA or PH to add knowing the percentage of each to get the pH down to 5.2 for example.

Seems like I've seen people plug the numbers in and come up with "X" ml's

Quote:

All the calculators that do mash pH prediction work on a trial and error basis. That is you adjust the acid additions until the mash pH prediction matches what you want. I know it’s more work but after a while you get a feel for how much to start with.

[quote
For my tired old brain, I can't seem to learn Martin's spreadsheet without some young person's help.. but there may be others that are "simpler"??
try the Brewer’s Friend calculator. It can do a lot more than just the basics but by default all those advanced sections are hidden. You only have to open the Grist section to enter details about your grist. And if you plan to add acids you need to open the Acids section. Since you are BIAB you don’t have to worry about sparge water. Just set total water to the same volume as the mash water and set sparge water to 0.

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Old 02-26-2013, 05:57 PM   #4
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Yes, there is a simpler way and that's not to do any calculations at all. The basics are set forth in the Primer in the Stickies. The general idea is that you get the alkalinity out of the water by diluting it with RO to the point that the alkalinity is no longer significant or that you use 100% RO water. You then, based on the type of beer, use a specified amount of sauermalz (acidulated malt) usually 1 - 3% on the assumption that base malt will, with low ion water, come to a pH of about 5.7 and that you want to be about 0.3 lower than that. If you use darker malts you use less sauermalz up to light gravity stouts where you use no sauermalz. Heavier stouts: you are on your own. These may require that you add alkalinity.

This approach will usually get you a good beer. It's more or less the way people brewed in the days before they had computers and it's the way I brew now but I have done thousands of spreadsheet calculations and have the benefits of that experience.

A better approach is to take the grist you propose to use, put a pound of it in a pot with 3 pints of water, heat to strike temp and measure the pH with a good meter. Now add acid or base until the desired pH is reached. It takes a fine hand and you may overshoot. If you do start over until you get the hang of it. Keep track of the total acid required and scale that from 1 pound of grist to your full batch size. You are measuring the 'alkalinity of the mash.

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Old 02-26-2013, 06:30 PM   #5
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Thanks guys.. I'll re-look at BF and also try AJ's suggestion.

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Old 02-26-2013, 06:42 PM   #6
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What works for me is to mash in. Measure pH and add 88% lactic acid to achieve the pH I want.

This simple equation on this post is what works for me:
http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/2012/10/mash-ph.html

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Old 02-26-2013, 07:32 PM   #7
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Quick question - my 10g MLT has a false bottom which has 1 gallon below the FB. When putting in total mash water for these calculators should I put in the full amount of water that's in the MLT or subtract 1g since it's not really in contact with the grains during the primary mash?

Edit: Actually after reading WoodlandBrew's link I see that the amount of water is pretty irrelvant. Using EZ Water Calc I can see that a gallon change in mash water for a given recipe only changes the pH by about .02.

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Old 02-26-2013, 07:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodlandBrew View Post
What works for me is to mash in. Measure pH and add 88% lactic acid to achieve the pH I want.
For a process such as this I always wondered how effective it is since by the time you mix grain and water and let things settle for a few min to even out, you've already started the conversion process. By the time you've taken your wort sample, cooled it, and then tested it presumably about 15 min has already gone by (at least for me). At that point a great deal of conversion has already happened right? Is it already largely too late at that point to significantly effect the mash dynamics since from what I read (and my experience) almost all conversion is typically done in the first 20 min or so.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmonacel View Post
Quick question - my 10g MLT has a false bottom which has 1 gallon below the FB. When putting in total mash water for these calculators should I put in the full amount of water that's in the MLT or subtract 1g since it's not really in contact with the grains during the primary mash?
It's the pH of the solution that is being calculated, which includes the water below the false bottom. So in theory, yes it should be included. However, in practice I don't think you'll see much difference.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmonacel View Post
For a process such as this I always wondered how effective it is since by the time you mix grain and water and let things settle for a few min to even out, you've already started the conversion process. By the time you've taken your wort sample, cooled it, and then tested it presumably about 15 min has already gone by (at least for me). At that point a great deal of conversion has already happened right? Is it already largely too late at that point to significantly effect the mash dynamics since from what I read (and my experience) almost all conversion is typically done in the first 20 min or so.
That has not been my experience. If I am doing a protein rest then the adjustment occurs before the saccharification rest. There is more conversion earlier in the mash, but the five or ten minuets it takes to measure, adjust, and check is just a fraction of the 60 minute mash. Also, the pH adjustment is to aid in the conversion. Worst case is the first 10 minutes convert a little slow.

I would not consider it too late in the least.
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