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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > How important is it to adjust mash pH?
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Old 06-12-2009, 07:08 AM   #1
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Default How important is it to adjust mash pH?

First AG batch tomorrow and my LHBS didn't have the Five Star 5.2 pH Stabilizer. Is adjusting the pH a very important thing to do or will the beer turn out 'wrong'? I hear the word 'astringent' thrown around quite a bit and thats not a good taste for beer (brewing a stout).

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Old 06-12-2009, 07:37 AM   #2
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I have never used Five Star 5.2 but I have found my efficiency with PM batches improves dramatically if I do an acid rest over night before brew day.

My mash tun is a very basic 20qt SS stock pot, but I run low to mid 80%s brewhouse with an acid rest. I just heat whatever volume for strike water to the top of the acid rest range, 113°F comes to mind, dough in, stir, cover an forget.

By morning all the water is absorbed by the grain but the mash has that acidy flat sour thing going on. It isn't ruined, and it will perk right up after you finish your protein rest(s) and head for carbohydrate rest temps.

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Old 06-12-2009, 09:03 AM   #3
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I don't really have time to do an acid rest but since we're brewing today. (And I don't want to postpone brew day) Is it worth running down to another brewshop and picking up some 5.2 stabilizer or water treatment of some sort?

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Old 06-12-2009, 09:30 AM   #4
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If your water tastes good, just use it.

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Old 06-12-2009, 01:38 PM   #5
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What water are you using? Tap water from your own well would often be high in pH and might benefit from additives like 5.2

If you can go with spring water or even mix some distilled water with tap water, it will help to bring down the pH.

An acid rest doesn't need to be done overnight to be effective - you can do it in just 20 or 30 minutes.

What kind of beer are you brewing? Style of beer can make the water profile more or less important. Generally, darker beers are more forgiving to higher pH. Do you have any pH test strips to check the mash pH ?

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Old 06-12-2009, 02:58 PM   #6
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I wouldn't just assume you have a PH problem immediately. I think getting the mash temp right is the first order a business for new all grain brewers. If you have efficiency problems or astringency problems, then start learning about the chemistry side.

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Old 06-12-2009, 04:07 PM   #7
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Yeah, I know I got worried about pH and hardness when I first started AG. Unless you have some really funky water, I'd say don't worry with it immediately. In fact the only thing you might want to buy for your first batch is pH strips. You can just see what your pH is looking like as you're brewing....and if it's getting too low or high, you can then look at what minerals to add in subsequent batches.

I wound up getting some minerals....and occasionally I use them for more ecclectic styles. With most my beers, though, I don't add any minerals. I've noticed that whenever I do test for pH, my mash does seem to already be at optimal range.

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Old 06-12-2009, 05:10 PM   #8
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I'm using tap water that can come from several places (Southern CA) so I never really know what I'm getting. I'm brewing a stout so I don't think its that big of an issue. I've read that its more important for hoppy beers. I'll give the mash a test today and see what the pH is so I can adjust for future batches if need be.

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Old 06-12-2009, 09:01 PM   #9
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I'm assuming your talking about Home Brew Mart as your LHBS. I talked with one of the brewers there (Ballast Point), who said they don't add anything to the water. I thjink his exact words were something like "San Diego's water is near perfect for brewing." They just run it through a charcoal house filter and all is good. They sell them there or at home depot. I started using that and never looked back. My efficiency went up and my beers have tasted great. I have never even checked my ph.

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Old 06-12-2009, 11:01 PM   #10
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My water is so crappy that I have to start with reverse osmosis water. I'm paranoid, so I always try to add salts to match a specific locale's profile. Now I'm wondering if this is even necessary? It would be nice to forget about pH and ions and all that if it doesn't change the taste all that much.

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