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Old 12-21-2011, 03:41 PM   #1
PCharles
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Default pH Buffer

Recently I watched a video of a fellow brewing beer on YouTube. He indicated that he uses a pH Buffer to his all grain brew. I've not seen much discussion of buffering products with beer making from other recipes. What's the low-down on pH Buffer use?

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Old 12-21-2011, 04:27 PM   #2
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You want a mash pH of 5.2-5.4 in the mash. The buffer does it for you without having to do your own acid adjustments.

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Old 12-21-2011, 04:42 PM   #3
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Some people use 5.2 to buffer to make life easy...some figure their water out and add salts to get what they want...some do nothing at all and people in all groups make quality beer. However, I believe putting salts into consideration and tayloring them to individual brews can make the difference between good and great so I adjust with brewing salts.

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Old 12-21-2011, 04:57 PM   #4
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As a wine maker, I mostly use acid blend ( citric, malic and tartaric). I have nice Hana pHep 5 pH meter. I also would use K-Carbonate to raise the pH. When you mention beer salts, what particular products are you talking about? Am I correct that you usuall acidify beer. I believe most water will come in at a pH close to 7... you indicated the prefered pH was about 5.3.

Thanks for the advise.

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Old 12-21-2011, 05:25 PM   #5
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PCharles,
Describe your brewing method. All grain? Partial Mash? Extract/steep? or extract only?

the pH of the mash liquor matters for proper conversion and to reduce/eliminate tannin extraction. The optimal range of the mash liquor is 5.2-5.4/5

The grist will lower the pH. How much the pH is lowered is determined by the make up of the grist. As a rule of thumb, the higher the SRM (darker colored beer) the more buffering capacity the grist has.

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Old 12-21-2011, 05:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PCharles View Post
As a wine maker, I mostly use acid blend ( citric, malic and tartaric). I have nice Hana pHep 5 pH meter. I also would use K-Carbonate to raise the pH. When you mention beer salts, what particular products are you talking about? Am I correct that you usuall acidify beer. I believe most water will come in at a pH close to 7... you indicated the prefered pH was about 5.3.

Thanks for the advise.
We use a handful of salts to raise or lower pH as needed, they are also used to make up for deficiencies or balance things out as they have certain impacts on flavor and body.

Such salts would be:

Raise pH
Calcium Carbonate (chalk)
Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda)

Lowers pH
Calcium Sulfate (gypsum)
Calcium Chloride
Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom salt)

For me, I overwhelmingly use calcium sulfate and calcium chloride more than any other brewing salts. I use Epsom salt very little as it impacts pH marginally and you really don't need much magnesium in a brew. Chalk is a pain to get into solution so I tend to avoid that too...which is good for me because I have little need to increase pH. On low SRM grists with little buffering capacity I will also acidify the sparge water when I get about halfway through sparging using lactic acid as when the gravity starts getting low this is when you really have to worry about tannin extraction. I have not had any tannin issues since I started making these adjustments.
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Old 12-21-2011, 05:55 PM   #7
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Hugh, right now I'm on my second no boil kit. I'm just about through with fermentation and would not bother adjusting pH with a kit like that. I hope to move to partial mash soon and hopefully all grain by mid summer. My question was mostly for future projects such as partial mash and all grain.

Wine yeast perform better with pH levels around 3.4-3.6.

Thanks for the feedback.

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Old 12-21-2011, 05:57 PM   #8
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Thanks Bensiff, that's good information to know.

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Old 12-21-2011, 06:03 PM   #9
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The 5 Star product goes a long way, about 2g per gallon for buffering (http://www.fivestarchemicals.com/wp-...5two-Tech1.pdf)

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Old 12-21-2011, 06:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PCharles View Post
Hugh, right now I'm on my second no boil kit. I'm just about through with fermentation and would not bother adjusting pH with a kit like that. I hope to move to partial mash soon and hopefully all grain by mid summer. My question was mostly for future projects such as partial mash and all grain.

Wine yeast perform better with pH levels around 3.4-3.6.

Thanks for the feedback.
When you do go all grain/PM, the you'll want to adjust the pH in the mash (shoot for 5.2-5.5). By the time it's time to pitch the yeast, the pH will already be in the proper range.
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