Originally Posted by BlueHouseBrewhaus
Ditto for me. My first half dozen brews all finished around 1.018 and 1.020. Since I started using Bru'n Water and adjusting my water, I usually end up within 2 points of predicted FG. I like using the acid malt because my pH is usually right on from the beginning. Then I don't have to wait for the pH to stabilize and then adjust with lactic acid. I also find acid additions easy to under- or over-shoot and I spend my mash time tweaking the pH. I guess with more experience I would get better at it but the acid malt is just easier for me.
Based on the pH ranges for alpha and beta amylase, they have different optima, similar to the case for their optimal temperature ranges before denaturation. So, as with mash temp, pH is a compromise. IOW, you just need to get it close, but I don't see any advantage to getting it on the nose when temp is probably more important. I aim for 5.3 and if I'm high or low by +/- 0.2 pH units, all is good. I think when I was having trouble, I was closer to around pH 5.8 for mashing, which is quite high for both alpha and beta. This is due to having very high alkalinity in our water source.