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Old 09-06-2012, 07:24 PM   #11
Sep 2011
Austin, Texas
Posts: 1,249
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Originally Posted by Ashella View Post
Do you think that a predicted mash pH of 5.71 is high enough that I need to take action to correct it? Like I said, the EZ Water Calculator spreadsheet says that the range is 5.4-5.6.
I'd say brew on and see -- spreadsheets are only estimates and +0.1 pH won't ruin the batch.
On Deck: Cornucopia Oktoberfest
Primary: Centennial Blonde v2, Ed Wort's Kolsch
Secondary: none
Kegged: County Jail Pale Ale, AHS Anniv IPA, AHS Brooklyn Brown, Raspberry Wheat, Blood Orange Hefe, Ranger IPA clone (x2), Newcastle clone, AHS Irish Red, Centennial Blonde
Bottled: Session Series Belgian Saison, Apocalypso, Pecan Porter, DFH 90 Minute Clone, Apfelwein (x2), Wytchmaker Rye IPA Clone, Vienna/Simcoe SMaSH, Munich/Cascade SMaSH

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Old 09-07-2012, 04:27 AM   #12
Aug 2010
McLean/Ogden, Virginia/Quebec
Posts: 9,423
Liked 1563 Times on 1189 Posts

It's a snap to calculate bicarbonate from alkalinity but it is alkalinity you are really interested in. If you are given a bicabonate number the first thing you do is convert it to alkalinity. The conversion is pretty accurate as long as pH (of the water) is below 8 or so but begins to fall off above that. That's why alkalinity is a better measure than bicarb. It is valid at any pH.

bicarb = 61*alkalinity/50.

Yes, 5.7 is high enough that you should do something about it. The beer will not be ruined by any means at 5.7 but will be noticeably better at 5.4 - 5.5. The correction is simple enough to do. Just add sauermalz (acidulated malt) at 2% by weight of the total grist. This is generally a better solution to pH adjustment than adding calcium for the reason you saw when you tried to do it that way. Another convenient way is to dilute the tap water with RO or DI water thus cutting the alkalinity. If you do that you will get a lower mash pH and require a smaller correction to the point where you may be able to get it with calcium additions.

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