Originally Posted by Whoa
My ph paper only have the color scale to compare to. It was under 6, but not by much. I didn't bother with a 5.2 buffer because I've always heard Chicago water is fine without it - I did use filtered water for the first time on this last batch, though.
Do the proteins need the lower ph to coagulate better?
Don't use the buffer anyway! (Check out the brew science forum for more on that!).
Generally, the lower the pH, the more protein coagulation you get. But you don't want to go too low due to the flavor impact. (But you'd have to go pretty darn low to get the flavor impact).
It's off topic here, but I'd work on getting the mash pH to 5.4-5.6 (room temperature) by adding calcium chloride or other salts. Not because of the lack of protein coagulation, but just because the beer has a better flavor in the finish.
A full water report would be helpful, and then we could help you over in the Brew Science forum with the exact additions to get to a more suitable mash pH.