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Old 09-10-2009, 01:15 AM   #11
lamarguy
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Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
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.
If you're referring to Palmer's nomograph, then, yes, it will absolutely get you in the ballpark (5.0 - 5.8) using RA and SRM (rough approximation for malt acidity) as variables.

I always start with Palmer's spreadsheet but, personally, I like to be within throwing distance of home plate - 5.2. Seasonal water mineral changes (varies considerably in most areas) and systemic error from the SRM approximation all contribute to mash pH inconsistency.

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The mash pH should be measured shortly after dough-in. If a pH correction needs to be made to the mash it should be done immediately because mash pH also affects the enzymatic activity. When adding salts or acids to the mash, they should be added in small dosages and the mash pH needs to be measured after each dosage has been added and well mixed with the rest of the mash.
The alternative, of course, is to get within the ballpark and then add 5.2 buffer. I've found from experience that 1/2 - 1 tsp is sufficient to hit the target mash pH, much less than the 1 tbs recommendation.

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What is 5.2 comprised of? Who knows. It's proprietary.
It's no secret - food grade phosphate salts. This, of course contributes phosphates to your beer. The byproduct is no different than adding phosphoric acid.


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Old 09-10-2009, 01:18 AM   #12
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The byproduct is no different than adding phosphoric acid.
If this is the case, does 5.2 also precipitate calcium, like phosphoric acid does?


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Old 09-10-2009, 01:22 AM   #13
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Exactly my thoughts. I build my water out of a RO base and there is no reason to be using 5.2.
If you're periodically measuring your mash pH at dough-in, I absolutely agree.

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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.
I build my brewing water from municipal water and RO water. 5.2 buffer is a good product either way.
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:38 AM   #14
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If this is the case, does 5.2 also precipitate calcium, like phosphoric acid does?
Yes, the phosphate salts form insoluble calcium phosphate (observed as cloudiness) up to the point the water is buffered to 5.2.
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