Adding minerals to water and using Buffer 5.2 - Home Brew Forums
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Old 09-09-2009, 07:16 PM   #1
BeezBrew
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I apologize if this has been asked before, but if the right proportion of minerals are added to my brewing water that is appropriate to the style of beer i'm brewing, is there a need for the Buffer pH 5.2 solution? Is it ok to add just to be safe? Will it harm the beer when added with the already added minerals? Thoughts?


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Old 09-09-2009, 07:24 PM   #2
The Pol
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeezBrew View Post
I apologize if this has been asked before, but if the right proportion of minerals are added to my brewing water that is appropriate to the style of beer i'm brewing, is there a need for the Buffer pH 5.2 solution? Is it ok to add just to be safe? Will it harm the beer when added with the already added minerals? Thoughts?
I add all of my salts, AND the 5.2. Beer tastes fine.



 
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Old 09-09-2009, 07:41 PM   #3
lamarguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeezBrew View Post
I apologize if this has been asked before, but if the right proportion of minerals are added to my brewing water that is appropriate to the style of beer i'm brewing, is there a need for the Buffer pH 5.2 solution?
5.2 buffer is helpful if the mash pH is out of range (5.0 > pH > 5.6). If you've already added salts to the water (to match a particular stype) and your mash pH is still out of range, as determined by litmus paper or a pH meter, then 5.2 may be enough to correct the problem.

I've conducted several experiments using Palmer's spreadsheet and a pH meter and I've found I can get reasonably close to a mash pH of 5.2 without using 5.2 buffer. For example, I brewed an Oktoberfest last Monday and I hit 5.4 after mash-in using a Munich water mineral profile. I then added 1/2 tsp (much less than the 1 tbs recommendation) of 5.2 buffer which brought the pH down to, you guessed it - 5.2.

My point is, I'm an advocate for measurement, not just adding things to my beer without cause.

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Originally Posted by BeezBrew View Post
Is it ok to add just to be safe? Will it harm the beer when added with the already added minerals?
You can add it "just to be safe", but I advocate measurement. Litmus paper is very cheap. Be forewarned, if you add more 5.2 buffer than what is recommended, you can significantly change the water mineral profile and taste of the beer.
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:21 PM   #4
BigEd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeezBrew View Post
I apologize if this has been asked before, but if the right proportion of minerals are added to my brewing water that is appropriate to the style of beer i'm brewing, is there a need for the Buffer pH 5.2 solution? Is it ok to add just to be safe? Will it harm the beer when added with the already added minerals? Thoughts?
As long as you have a proper lineup of water ions for the beer style being brewed there wouldn't be any need for an additional product. If you are the worrying type or like giving money to the producers of 5.2 it won't do any harm if you put it in.

 
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Old 09-09-2009, 11:30 PM   #5
boredatwork
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I always add it anyway. We are not dealing in exact science here, so adding safeguards is always useful.

 
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:24 AM   #6
BeezBrew
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Cool, thanks for the replies.
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:29 AM   #7
lamarguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEd View Post
As long as you have a proper lineup of water ions for the beer style being brewed there wouldn't be any need for an additional product. If you are the worrying type or like giving money to the producers of 5.2 it won't do any harm if you put it in.
If you're attempting to achieve an optimal mash, it's more complicated that just having the "proper lineup of water ions". If often takes multiple adjustments to hit a 5.2 mash pH.

Have you measured your mash pH lately?
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:45 AM   #8
Bobby_M
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I was under the impression that residual alkalinity, coupled with estimated malt acidity, was enough to nail the PH at least in an acceptable range. The concern I'd have with 5.2 is that it's adding to the salts and potentially overdoing it. What is 5.2 comprised of? Who knows. It's proprietary.
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:58 AM   #9
Tonedef131
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Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
The concern I'd have with 5.2 is that it's adding to the salts and potentially overdoing it. What is 5.2 comprised of? Who knows. It's proprietary.
Exactly my thoughts. I build my water out of a RO base and there is no reason to be using 5.2. However, if you are not wanting to mess with building water and just want to get your municipal water into the right range, it's a pretty good product.

 
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:59 AM   #10
The Pol
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I build my water... I have also had this little tub of 5.2 forever... so I just put it in. I cannot detect anything wrong with doing so.



 
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