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Old 01-04-2014, 12:26 PM   #1
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Default Final pH of beer high

The final pH of my beers are all coming out "high". I've had one finish as high as 5. The latest beer I brewed finished at 4.84 pH and I am looking for reasons why my pH is so high. The mash pH of this one was 5.34, so while I could drop that a touch, I don't think it's where my problem lies.

I brew all grain and use appropriately sized starters. I am also brewing with RO water and adding in the needed salts. I ferment at between 64 and 67 depending on the beer. What else can I look at to improve the finished product?

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Old 01-04-2014, 12:44 PM   #2
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Are you acidifying your sparge water? (This is not needed for all styles)

More important, how do the finished beers taste? If they're good, I wouldn't fuss too much about post-fermentation pH.

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Old 01-04-2014, 12:45 PM   #3
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Hey brewmeister, I don't any definitive answers for you but I am interested in the problem.

Most important question -Is this affecting your beer? I've read that beers with a high final pH seem dull, is that the case with your beer?

What sort of beers are you brewing, and what water profiles are using? Are you using brew'n water or another aid to calculate your expected mash pH? How and when are you testing mash pH? If you're using a pH meter, how often do you calibrate?

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Old 01-04-2014, 04:14 PM   #4
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Are you acidifying your sparge water? (This is not needed for all styles)
I do not acidify sparge water with lactic or phosphoric, but I am adding salts to the water at the same rate as for mashing and my final runnings are always under 5.6 and usually closer to the mash pH.

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More important, how do the finished beers taste? If they're good, I wouldn't fuss too much about post-fermentation pH.
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Originally Posted by hotspurdotus View Post
Is this affecting your beer? I've read that beers with a high final pH seem dull, is that the case with your beer?
The final beers are good, but there is room for improvement (I'm a bit of a perfectionist). The beer that finished at 5.0 was an IPA that took 2nd BOS in a small local comp, but I talked to the judge and he said there was just something about it that was missing. The hops were great, the malt where it should be and it was really good, but there was something, he said, not quite there, but he couldn't pinpoint it. He did use the term delicate describing it (it was a 70+IBU beer). Looking at it delicate and dull could be close to me. I was thinking that it might need a bit more sulfate, but I'm not a huge fan of over the top sulfate.

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Originally Posted by hotspurdotus View Post
What sort of beers are you brewing, and what water profiles are using? Are you using brew'n water or another aid to calculate your expected mash pH? How and when are you testing mash pH? If you're using a pH meter, how often do you calibrate?
I am brewing mostly pales, APA and various IPA's, but have done a few others. I use custom profiles when brewing, still trying to dial in the correct levels. The afore mentioned IPA was Ca=50 Mg=10 Na=5 SO4=105 Cl=45 and no bicarbonate. I've since raised the Ca to about 100 SO4 to 225 and Cl to 40. I am thinking of backing off the SO4 a bit though. I also use a touch of Aciduated Malt to lower pH. I use brew'n water and it is almost always .2 pH higher in estimation than actual, but it is very helpful. I measure my pH about 15 minutes into the mash and check after adjustments (usually don't have any) and at the end of the mash as well. I use a pH meter that I calibrate before each use and I lower the temp of the samples to 77 which is what I calibrate at as well.

With all of that said, I'm not sure if this is a mashing issue. My pH's are pretty good at these points, though I could be wrong. I'm wondering what other processes are at work that effect the final pH that I may be doing incorrectly.

Thanks guys for helping me out
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Old 01-04-2014, 04:32 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by brewmeister13 View Post
I do not acidify sparge water with lactic or phosphoric, but I am adding salts to the water at the same rate as for mashing and my final runnings are always under 5.6 and usually closer to the mash pH.



The final beers are good, but there is room for improvement (I'm a bit of a perfectionist). The beer that finished at 5.0 was an IPA that took 2nd BOS in a small local comp, but I talked to the judge and he said there was just something about it that was missing. The hops were great, the malt where it should be and it was really good, but there was something, he said, not quite there, but he couldn't pinpoint it. He did use the term delicate describing it (it was a 70+IBU beer). Looking at it delicate and dull could be close to me. I was thinking that it might need a bit more sulfate, but I'm not a huge fan of over the top sulfate.



I am brewing mostly pales, APA and various IPA's, but have done a few others. I use custom profiles when brewing, still trying to dial in the correct levels. The afore mentioned IPA was Ca=50 Mg=10 Na=5 SO4=105 Cl=45 and no bicarbonate. I've since raised the Ca to about 100 SO4 to 225 and Cl to 40. I am thinking of backing off the SO4 a bit though. I also use a touch of Aciduated Malt to lower pH. I use brew'n water and it is almost always .2 pH higher in estimation than actual, but it is very helpful. I measure my pH about 15 minutes into the mash and check after adjustments (usually don't have any) and at the end of the mash as well. I use a pH meter that I calibrate before each use and I lower the temp of the samples to 77 which is what I calibrate at as well.

With all of that said, I'm not sure if this is a mashing issue. My pH's are pretty good at these points, though I could be wrong. I'm wondering what other processes are at work that effect the final pH that I may be doing incorrectly.
Boy that is a puzzler. My first guess would have been high Residual Alkalinity, but your description suggests just the opposite.

A couple other things I'd check:

Is your RO system is working properly? Maybe you have a bunch of bicarbonate you're not aware of. Have you tested with a TDS meter?

What's your boil off rate? Are you getting a strong, rolling boil?

I've only recently purchased a pH meter (more for mead than beer), and I haven't bothered to test the pH of my finished beer. I use RO and bru'n water as well; now I'll have to check and see where my beers are finishing out of curiosity.
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:15 PM   #6
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Is your RO system is working properly? Maybe you have a bunch of bicarbonate you're not aware of. Have you tested with a TDS meter?
Mistakingly put RO, I actually buy distilled water to brew with, so no issue there.

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What's your boil off rate? Are you getting a strong, rolling boil?
My boil off is around 1.25 gal an hour. It's actually pretty darn strong. That is 17% on a regular 5 gal batch.

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I've only recently purchased a pH meter (more for mead than beer), and I haven't bothered to test the pH of my finished beer. I use RO and bru'n water as well; now I'll have to check and see where my beers are finishing out of curiosity.
I didn't think to check mine until I was looking into ways to improve my IPA and figured it was worth a look.
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Old 01-05-2014, 07:12 PM   #7
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Optimum pH for Ale yeast is around 5.3, lager about 5.6. Optimum pH for alpha enzymes is about 5.6 pH and for beta 5.1 pH.. The pH will drop slightly during fermentation. The pH will rise slightly during the boil and drop after calcium is precipitated. Going below 4.7 pH or above 6 pH should be avoided. If your run off is 5.6 pH you're good to go....I tri-decoction everything that I brew. The pH of the main mash after mash out is 5-5.2, depending on what the length of the acid rest is and the time when I denature Phytase. I don't use high modified malt. I stop sparging when the pH rises to 5.8 pH.

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Old 02-23-2014, 10:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by VladOfTrub View Post
Optimum pH for Ale yeast is around 5.3, lager about 5.6. Optimum pH for alpha enzymes is about 5.6 pH and for beta 5.1 pH.. The pH will drop slightly during fermentation. The pH will rise slightly during the boil and drop after calcium is precipitated. Going below 4.7 pH or above 6 pH should be avoided. If your run off is 5.6 pH you're good to go....I tri-decoction everything that I brew. The pH of the main mash after mash out is 5-5.2, depending on what the length of the acid rest is and the time when I denature Phytase. I don't use high modified malt. I stop sparging when the pH rises to 5.8 pH.
The OP was asking about pH in the finished beer (i.e., post-fermentation), not mash pH.

Back on topic...
After talking to a local commercial brewer recently, I decided to test the pH of my finished beer. To my surprise, my samples ranged from 4.43 to 4.92 with a calibrated meter. My mash pH is always well controlled. A bit of a head scratcher.

Brewed today and measured pH at three stages:
Mash: 5.28
Pre-boil: 5.29
Post-boil: 5.09
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:24 AM   #9
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After talking to a local commercial brewer recently, I decided to test the pH of my finished beer. To my surprise, my samples ranged from 4.43 to 4.92 with a calibrated meter. My mash pH is always well controlled. A bit of a head scratcher.

Brewed today and measured pH at three stages:
Mash: 5.28
Pre-boil: 5.29
Post-boil: 5.09
A lot goes into the final pH. I remember seeing, and being told, that mash pH actually has little to do with final beer pH. I recently played around with aeration, giving each of 5 samples a different amount of O2. I found that the un-oxygenated beer was about .4-.5 pH higher than the highest oxygenated beer.
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:52 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by brewmeister13 View Post
A lot goes into the final pH. I remember seeing, and being told, that mash pH actually has little to do with final beer pH. I recently played around with aeration, giving each of 5 samples a different amount of O2. I found that the un-oxygenated beer was about .4-.5 pH higher than the highest oxygenated beer.
I aerate all of my wort using 60 seconds of O2, so that's definitely not the problem.

I tested all 6 of my draft beers yesterday. All three that were fermented with Wyeast 1056 ended high (>4.7). All of the beers fermented with English yeast (1028 or 1968) or Irish ale (WLP004) finished lower (<4.5).

Perhaps 1056 is a lower acid producer.
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