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Old 03-15-2013, 02:16 PM   #1
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HopSong's Avatar
Sep 2011
Santa Rosa, CA
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I've seen nothing written on this, nor have I seen it in the many BIAB videos I've watched on YouTube. I've also written to some of the BIAB'ers on YouTube. All seem to be in the dark on the subject or how to treat the situation.

For conventional brewing where the strike water to grain ratio is about 1.3 to 1, I don't think I would have had a problem getting my water reasonably close to 5.4 from the grains.. with minimal adjustment to get it down a tad more.

However, with my first attempt at BIAB, using a full liquid volume of 4.5G to 5.5 lbs of grain (2.5G batch), my pH dropped from 7.0 to 6.4. I had to add acid to the mix to drop it to 5.3.

I'm assuming the difference between conventional and full volume mashing is the difference but I don't fully understand why. I'm hoping someone can shed some light on this.

I'm also hoping someone can tell me, if this is normal, how to treat the water before adding the grains. If my batch only dropped 0.6pH, should I treat the water during the heating to mashing temp to say 6.0 or 5.9 ahead of time and then a add the grain and make a minor adjustment.. even with dark roasted barley?

PS.. please don't get too technical on me with this.. cuz it'll go right over my head. Basically, I need a synopsis of what you think I should do.

Thanks for any input..
Cheers, Bill
Hop Song Brewing

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Old 03-15-2013, 03:49 PM   #2
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Jan 2013
Tampa, FL
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I've been wondering the same thing, in anticipation of doing a "proper" BIAB brew this weekend, and the conclusion I've come to after much reading on the subject (especially posts by ajdelange and mbrungard) is that you basically treat the water used in BIAB the same as if you were doing a traditional strike + sparge mash. Assuming you are starting with RO/DI/Distilled water, add the usual ~3-4g of calcium chloride, the optional 3-4g of calcium sulfate (for IPAs and hop forward beers), and enough lactic acid (or sauermalz, if you prefer) to get the *measured* pH of the mash in the range of 5.4-5.6.

NB - I've never actually done this so take this with a grain of salt... er... literally?

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Old 03-15-2013, 04:13 PM   #3
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Oct 2012
Malden, MA
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The more water you have the more alkalinity will drive pH. I use lactic acid after mash in to adjust pH for BIAB.

Here is more information:

That link also has a better description of what plays into mash pH. And a simple formualt to calculate how much lactic acid to use.
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Old 03-15-2013, 04:20 PM   #4
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Jul 2011
Lubbock, TX
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I just recently switched from bottled spring to pure RO water and salts. I use the EZ-Water spreadsheet to calculate my salt additions and pH. In my case I enter in 100% RO water, the total amount of water I am using in Mash Water Vol and 0 for Sparge Water Vol. I haven't had a bad beer yet (4 batches thus far.) I try to get the pH in the range of 5-6, and usually end up around 5.6-5.8. I plan on buying some lactic acid to bring it down more into the 5.2 range and give me more wiggle room when trying to hit specific water profiles.

I am still a relative newb to water chemistry, so I would also be interested in hearing what others think.
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Old 03-18-2013, 02:46 PM   #5
Jan 2010
St Peters Mo, MISSOURI
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I do BIAB exclusively.
My last 2 beers have been my best so far and the only 2 I have used RO/DI water...I plan on using RO/DI water for everthing going forward...
The beers were a Helles Lager and light Kolsch

I am doing what Voltin is doing in my last 2 batches with RO/DI water.
I start with 8.5 gallons of water and 0 sparge water in EZ sheet
For these last 2 brews, I used 3 oz acid malt and 2-3 grams of calcium chloride to get the PH in the sweet spot.

The EZ sheet is super easy to use and shows how the changes in additions change the Ph.

I do not have a Ph meter to verify the sheet calculated Ph, but most folks state that it is with in a tenth or 2... so close enough for me so far and the beer is great.

thanks Kevin

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Old 08-21-2013, 09:58 PM   #6
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Dec 2011
Laguna Niguel, CA
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Originally Posted by WoodlandBrew View Post
The more water you have the more alkalinity will drive pH. I use lactic acid after mash in to adjust pH for BIAB.

Here is more information:

That link also has a better description of what plays into mash pH. And a simple formualt to calculate how much lactic acid to use.
+1 That link is very good. Thank you.
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