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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > When is it too late to adjust ph in the mash?
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Old 02-25-2012, 11:44 PM   #1
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Default When is it too late to adjust ph in the mash?

When is is too late to adjust your mash ph to affect conversion?

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Old 02-25-2012, 11:48 PM   #2
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I would like to know this too. Seems like my mash ph changes up until 30 minutes in. This is with biab and ro water.

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Old 02-25-2012, 11:59 PM   #3
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I'm also doing biab. Today is my first day doing water adjustments. I diluted to 80% RO and then made adjustments back up. For most of my hour mash the strips I'm using haven't registered any change in color. I'm using the 4.6-6.2 strips. Finally at about 50 minutes in I added enough baking soda to get about 5.2-5.4. I'm wondering if I should extend my mash or if it's too late for any more conversion to take place.

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Old 02-26-2012, 12:43 AM   #4
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Strips are a totally unreliable way of measuring mash pH. You were probably OK until you added the baking soda and, if the conversion was going well it was probably complete or nearly complete before you brought it to a stop and you might be OK. The problem going forward is that kettle pH will be too high and pH in the fermentor will be too high but if you pitch enough strong, healthy yeast they may be able to overcome this and the beer may turn out OK.

These comments are based on the assumption that you are brewing a more or less nominal beer. If you are brewing a stout with a ton of roast/dark crystal then the pH may indeed have been too low and adding the bicarbonate may have saved the day. Note that this would not be the case with all stouts - adding bicarbonate to some stouts can be detrimental to them too.

If you are even going to think about taking action based on mash pH you must get a pH meter. Using strips will only lead you into trouble. They nearly always (for reasons which mystify me*) indicate that the mash pH is 0.3 or more lower than it actually is. This is, of course, not a bias upon which you can rely. If it were you could just add 0.3 to the reading and be back on track.

*One guy posted a picture of the strip he had used to test his mash with the color patches on the label of the container the strips came in. The color of the strip which had been immersed in the mash was not between any color pair on the legend so little wonder he couldn't read the mash pH correctly. This suggests that the colored components of mash/wort are interfering with the dye in the strips. Maybe that's the explanation.

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Old 02-26-2012, 12:54 AM   #5
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Well sh**

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Old 02-26-2012, 01:00 AM   #6
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The beer in question is only 8 srm. I had read that the strips were .3 low usually at mash temps and figured if I could at least get them up to the low end of the colors given that I would be in good shape. It looks like I shot through the low end though. Hopefully conversion was done before then. I've made a starter for it so hopefully the yeast will be able to fight through it. It's a pale ale that should come in around 1.05.

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