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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Mash PH and slow fermentation.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:12 PM   #1
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Default Mash PH and slow fermentation.

Has anyone had any trouble with a mash PH around 6.0 and slow fermentations.
The last to beers I've made have had this trouble.
Thanks

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Old 12-07-2012, 09:13 PM   #2
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Mashing likes a pH of around 5.2-5.4 for the amylase enzymes to convert efficiently as do the yeast. If you have a highly alkaline water supply you may want to use something like pH 5.2 additive or add something like citric acid or cream of tartar to your strike water until you get in that 5.2-5.4 range before mashing in. pH test strips are pretty cheap or you could get a pH tester to figure out how much of the additives will get you where you want to be.

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Old 12-08-2012, 03:19 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by zzARzz View Post
Mashing likes a pH of around 5.2-5.4 for the amylase enzymes to convert efficiently as do the yeast. If you have a highly alkaline water supply you may want to use something like pH 5.2 additive or add something like citric acid or cream of tartar to your strike water until you get in that 5.2-5.4 range before mashing in. pH test strips are pretty cheap or you could get a pH tester to figure out how much of the additives will get you where you want to be.
I would NEVER add citric acid or cream of tartar to my mash- unless I liked the taste of it.

Your pH is too high, but that shouldn't affect conversion, just flavor of the finished beer. I would also never add the 5.2 buffer.

You still should convert.

that said- there is a lot of room for improvement to get your pH in the proper range (RO water, correct sparge pH, correct additions including calcium). So, if you can post a water report or what your water is, we can help you figure out how best to get the best tasting beer and the best mash pH and fermentation.
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:07 AM   #4
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Cream of tartar is flavor neutral and has been used in baking since the 1800s to aid in making the alkaline pH of egg whites lower for the production of stable meringues as well as in the production of inverted sugar used by many English and Belgian styles.

Making a mash lower in pH through the use of different malts is another way of doing things, of course, and I agree that citric acid in sufficient quantities would alter the flavor profile of a brew, but after having used cream of tartar successfully for years without any ill effects in recipes with flavors far more delicate than beer, I'm skeptical of the sudden outcry against it.

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Old 12-08-2012, 04:30 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by zzARzz View Post
Cream of tartar is flavor neutral and has been used in baking since the 1800s to aid in making the alkaline pH of egg whites lower for the production of stable meringues as well as in the production of inverted sugar used by many English and Belgian styles.

Making a mash lower in pH through the use of different malts is another way of doing things, of course, and I agree that citric acid in sufficient quantities would alter the flavor profile of a brew, but after having used cream of tartar successfully for years without any ill effects in recipes with flavors far more delicate than beer, I'm skeptical of the sudden outcry against it.
It's basically Potassium and Tartaric acid, and used as a primary reference for pH buffer solutions (pH 3.5 saturated). Seems harmless enough in the quantities we would use.
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:41 PM   #6
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It's your mash pH like mentioned above. I would add a couple mils of Phos. acid to your strike water. You will probably be ok in the 5.0 to 5.5 area. Also check your last runnings. They shouldn't go above 5.6. Lastly the yeast you use is important. If you want a nice clean and fast fermentation ale, try White Labs English Ale 2. Excellent stuff.

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Old 12-08-2012, 02:45 PM   #7
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It's basically Potassium and Tartaric acid, and used as a primary reference for pH buffer solutions (pH 3.5 saturated). Seems harmless enough in the quantities we would use.
Yes, of course. But without a pH meter and knowing the composition of the water, adding it to the strike water may not be helpful. Obviously, if the mash pH was 6, the water seems to be alkaline. But we don't know the composition of the water, the actual pH (meter or strips), when the pH was taken, etc. Adding it without knowing exactly why and how much (and if the pH will be taken by a meter or with those strips) will not be helpful to the OP.
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:49 PM   #8
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I'm way more relaxed. Most home brewers I've met are way more technical than me. I keep good records when I brew, so it is easy to make slight tweaks to a recipe. given the numbers of that brew, I would add a tiny bit of acid to the strike water and brew. A pH meter would be a way to go but I'm with Charlie, "relax and "just" homebrew.

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