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Old 01-23-2009, 04:56 AM   #1
jdhuggar
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Default 5.2 stabilizer not working?

Hi,

After lurking in the forums for a long time I finally have a question!

Doing my first all grain batch the other day I added 5.2 stabilizer. After testing my mash water with a pH strip it was off the scale sold with the bottle (dark purplish color) which I assumed was pretty alkaline, so I added another tablespoon, but it did not change the color on another pH strip. My LHBS tested the strips before they sold them to me in acid and they tested ok so I don't think it was the strips. Is there any way I can change the pH with more 5.2? Or am I stuck to buy lactic acid as the only way to change my pH?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 01-23-2009, 05:27 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdhuggar View Post
Hi,

After lurking in the forums for a long time I finally have a question!

Doing my first all grain batch the other day I added 5.2 stabilizer. After testing my mash water with a pH strip it was off the scale sold with the bottle (dark purplish color) which I assumed was pretty alkaline, so I added another tablespoon, but it did not change the color on another pH strip. My LHBS tested the strips before they sold them to me in acid and they tested ok so I don't think it was the strips. Is there any way I can change the pH with more 5.2? Or am I stuck to buy lactic acid as the only way to change my pH?

Thanks in advance!
Have you used 5.2 and tested your mash efficiency? Every time I use it I get 75% or better. What was your mash efficiency on this batch? First AG batch, the beer is going to be good after about 4-6 weeks. Relax.
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Old 01-23-2009, 11:11 AM   #3
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Were you testing the strike water, or the mash itself? Assuming the latter, did you let your sample cool to room temp? pH (or at least the measurement of it) changes with temperature.

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Old 01-23-2009, 12:23 PM   #4
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5.2 only works to a certain degree. Just like StarSan, it's a godsend, but if your starting water (mash) isn't close in hardness or alkalinity, the 5.2 won't work. Provided that's the problem, you'll have to treat your water with lactic acid, as you mentioned, or even simpler, dilute with DI water in order to bring it into a range 5.2 can handle.

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Old 01-23-2009, 12:52 PM   #5
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If you're testing the water, though... don't bother, all that matters is the pH of the mash.

EDIT: To clarify, the water pH is a very poor indicator of mash pH. The particular recipe comes into play, as well. When I've used the pH buffer and checked the mash (at room temp), it was spot-on. It's POSSIBLE to have a problem with your water, but until you check the mash at proper temp, it's impossible to know if that's the case.

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Old 01-23-2009, 01:07 PM   #6
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Yeah, all the 5.2 in the world isn't going to get that water to 5.2. Of course if the mash was actually measured "off the chart" (assuming that pH strips sold for brewing go up to 6ish) that is horrible and the water used will probably never be suitable for brewing. I don't think that is the case though.

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Old 01-23-2009, 05:42 PM   #7
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Hi, I was testing the mash and it was a little warm, but I was under the assumption that hotter water lowered pH. After everything was said and done my eff was down (65% ish) but the beer did taste great.

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Old 01-23-2009, 06:16 PM   #8
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Think of 5.2 as a buffering extender. The grain is already doing it to a certain degree and adding 5.2 just helps it when it's out-tasked by ridiculously out of whack water.

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Old 01-23-2009, 06:48 PM   #9
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What was the actual pH you measured? My pH strips usually show 5.4 when I add 5.2 buffer. However, the mash is dark, and I assume that the extra .2 could be accounted for by darkness of the mash.

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