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Old 01-26-2009, 04:19 PM   #1
minduim
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Default how to lower water pH

Hi,

I've been reading about ideal water pH and I'm worried that my water is too alkaline (pH 7.8). I don't have the chemicals to modify this, nor the desired to add chemicals to it. Back in the old days when brewers didn't have all this knowledge about water chemistry they were able to make good beer anyway, so I guess it's also doable nowdays.

Alright, so the question is: is it possible to achieve the ideal pH level (5.2~5.3) using only a long (how long?) acid rest?

I don't care if its better to make only one type of beer that is right for my water profile as long as it is good beer.

water profile: (all in mg/L)
barium bicarbonate 0,09
estroncium bicarbonate 0,02
calcium bicarbonate 129,67
magnesium bicarbonate 73,11
potassium bicarbonate 1,2
sodium bicarbonate 2,75
sodium nitrate 0,96
sodium chloride 0,51
aluminum oxide 0,04
silicium oxide 10,82

Sorry if the chemical names are mispelled, the water profile is in portuguese I wish I had more informations on the water chemistry but the guys who sell it wont answear my calls. too bad.

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Old 01-26-2009, 04:25 PM   #2
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You can do an acid rest but, I am just not familiar with how to apply this to target a pH. I am thinking that it would be a separate mash that is titrated to the main mash to a target but, maybe it buffers itself.

Lactic Acid is common for brewery use. There is also Citric.

A little goes a long way. I use .75mL in 14 gallons to drop my sparge liquor from 9.2 to 5.2.

Given that the bottle i get from my HBS is 150mL that means I have 200 uses per bottle. I figure given the amount of chemicals already in the water a little more isn't going to hurt (much). Especially considering that most modern breweries use them too.

Besides, the waggling nub at the base of my back isn't growing anymore so maybe the added chemicals are helping.

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Old 01-26-2009, 04:27 PM   #3
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you can solve all your problems by useing two possiable methods. First one is a bit tough and cost about 30 -50 dallors, that is buy a faucet mount carbon filter minimum of 3 stages, that will lower the PH of your water to near nutral and filter out alot of your free floating ions.

Or you can buy bottled water from your local hardwear store or Walmart (paying about 25-40cents per gallon) in plastic carboys and use the water to brew and if they are suitable the carboys for fermenting. You will need Pete water carboys (number 1 plastic, says on the bottom) or you can transfer into you current fermenter and just keep refilling your carboys with water.

I use a 6 stage carbon filter/acid reducer on my faucet because its the only thing that actully makes my apartment water drinkable (so much iron you could stick a magnet to a puddle on a vynal floor). A 6 stage says it removes 99% of free ions and 98% of other water aditives/contaminants. but it cost me about 90$ and the cartridges are about 40$ a piece and filter up to 100 gallons a piece. So with out having to chemically modify your water (which might not help you brew) try those ways

cheers

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Old 01-26-2009, 04:51 PM   #4
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What about using the Five Star 5.2 buffer. I'm not sure what the limits of the buffer are, but I'm guessing it would pull you mash pH right down to where it needs to be.

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Old 01-26-2009, 05:33 PM   #5
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I'll second on pH5.2. I use it for mashing & sparging. Adding it to the sparge water means a hotter sparge without tannins.

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Old 01-26-2009, 05:37 PM   #6
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While it is good to know the pH of your water, you should be more concerned about your mash pH. It will vary from brew to brew, depending on the grain. Your mash pH will most likely be lower than the pH of your water, and you may be getting into the optimum range. Personally, I've started using the 5.2 Stabilzier, but it sounds like you're not interested in that method.

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Old 01-26-2009, 05:39 PM   #7
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Maybe someone with more experience might be able to comment on the use of acidulated malt for lowering mash pH? That may be an option if the OP is reluctant to add purified or synthesized chemicals to his water.

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Old 01-26-2009, 07:43 PM   #8
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I would go for the "artificial" way (i.e. 5.2 stabilizer and stuff) if I could. However, down here (in Brazil) we don't have specialized shops for homebrewers and as I'm not a chemist I'm afraid of going out buying stuff on my own.

That's why I'm interested on acid rests, even if they take a bit longer

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Old 01-26-2009, 08:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minduim View Post
I would go for the "artificial" way (i.e. 5.2 stabilizer and stuff) if I could. However, down here (in Brazil) we don't have specialized shops for homebrewers and as I'm not a chemist I'm afraid of going out buying stuff on my own.

That's why I'm interested on acid rests, even if they take a bit longer
I would assume then that you get your ingredients online? You should be able to get 5.2 Stabilizer online as well.

I'm not sure that using it would be considered artificial. It's just a combination of brewing salts that creates a buffer.Though I suppose you could consider it Cheating.
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Old 01-26-2009, 08:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minduim View Post
Hi,

I've been reading about ideal water pH and I'm worried that my water is too alkaline (pH 7.8). I don't have the chemicals to modify this, nor the desired to add chemicals to it. Back in the old days when brewers didn't have all this knowledge about water chemistry they were able to make good beer anyway, so I guess it's also doable nowdays.

Alright, so the question is: is it possible to achieve the ideal pH level (5.2~5.3) using only a long (how long?) acid rest?

I don't care if its better to make only one type of beer that is right for my water profile as long as it is good beer.

water profile: (all in mg/L)
barium bicarbonate 0,09
estroncium bicarbonate 0,02
calcium bicarbonate 129,67
magnesium bicarbonate 73,11
potassium bicarbonate 1,2
sodium bicarbonate 2,75
sodium nitrate 0,96
sodium chloride 0,51
aluminum oxide 0,04
silicium oxide 10,82

Sorry if the chemical names are mispelled, the water profile is in portuguese I wish I had more informations on the water chemistry but the guys who sell it wont answear my calls. too bad.
I know the Germans used to use a malt called acid malt to bring down the PH. You can do an acid rest. Type in acid rest in the search feature. Also you can use a lot of dark roasted malt in your beers. Ireland has hard water so they brew a lot of stouts. Stouts using dark malts brings down the PH.
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